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Business News

Government monthly advertising spending highest in almost four years


The Government’s monthly spend on advertising has hit its highest level in four years amid suggestions that public awareness on issues such as health and Army recruitment has slumped.

Figures compiled by research firm Nielsen for the Evening Standard estimate the Government spent  £12.1 million in January — the highest for 46 months since March 2010 and 20 per cent more than a year ago.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude controversially halved marketing spend after the 2010 election and axed Whitehall’s respected Central Office of Information in an austerity drive. There have been fears that the cuts went too far.

The Army launched a TV campaign in January after Defence Secretary Philip Hammond admitted the forces were struggling to attract applicants. Awareness on health issues such as smoking cessation is also said to have tumbled.

David Kershaw, chief executive of M&C Saatchi, a Soho agency on the Government’s roster, described the 2010 cuts as “dramatic” but said: “The Government now has a very good grip on where communications can make a measurable, cost-effective difference.”

The Cabinet Office played down suggestions ad spend was rising. "The start of major campaigns will cause seasonal spikes in activity," said a spokesman.

Marketing spend is forecast to be £250 million in 2013-14 against £532 million in 2009-10.