Today the Telegraph is reporting that the Tories have been complaining about the governmentâ€™s use of its own advertising budget and its incredible 39% growth from 2007/8 to 2008/9 from Â£168 million to Â£232 million.
These figures are straight from the Central Office of Information annual report, here. The image below is the key table from page 6, click to enlarge.
I donâ€™t know why the Tories are not pointing to the whole COI bill which leapt 43% from Â£377 million to Â£540 million last year. I donâ€™t see that digital marketing or interactive services for instance are any less pernicious than straight advertising. It is all communications and there is too much of it from this government.
You can use old annual reports on the COI website to build up a history of their spending back to 1993. I published this graph in July last year when the figures came out.
As you can see Gordon Brown has eclipsed even the Blair governmentsâ€™ propensity to spin. Brown’s “end of spin” claim is just another of his lies. There is clearly no John Major pre-election splurge in 1997. On the other hand you can see two Blair election peaks in 2001 and 2005 and then when Brown gets his hands on government it all goes crazy in the run up to the election that never was in autumn 2007 and on. There really is not a good reason why you couldn’t take at least Â£300 million out of this budget.