How much have you paid Alesha Dixon?

Today’s Observer brings us the story of how the NHS is spending money on getting celebrities to take part in health information campaigns but insisting on keeping the details secret in case it puts people off:

The Department of Health, which increasingly uses actors, singers, television stars and sports personalities to convince the nation to adopt healthier habits, refuses to admit how much it spends on celebrity campaigns. Now critics have accused the government of “unacceptable secrecy” following speculation that stars are being paid up to £10,000 a day for their appearances.

The DoH has rejected a bid by the Observer under the Freedom of Information Act to find out how much money Alesha Dixon received for backing the Condom Essential Wear campaign, or the fee paid to model turned television presenter Melinda Messenger for helping to promote the 5-A-Day healthy eating scheme, or the amount paid to singer Jenny Frost for supporting its Breast Buddy breastfeeding initiative…

“It’s good to work with people who are of a high profile. But given that it’s a national health service, we do have a right to know how much celebrities are paid,” said Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of GPs. “It’s just a shame that celebrities don’t give up their time for free to help improve the health of the nation. That would be a brilliant, public-spirited thing to do.”

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrats’ spokesman on health, said: “In many ways the use of celebrities makes a lot of sense, but there’s no justification at all for secrecy over these fees. It’s unacceptable and ludicrous that the DoH refuses to release the amounts paid. It’s public money and we have a right to know.”

I think Norman Lamb has got the balance just right. Using celebrities can be an effective way of reaching out to different audiences, but secrecy stops accountability and protects waste. Without the safety net of public scrutiny, it is far too easy for bad and wasteful decisions to be made.

You can read the full Observer story here.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in News.

One Comment

  • So I guess the next question is how much did the Scottish Government pay the likes of Sean Connery and Lulu to appear in their “Homecoming” advert?

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMick Taylor 23rd Mar - 3:38pm
    May T can be replaced very quickly if a successor is agreed. All it requires is to kiss the Queens hand and get a vote...
  • User AvatarDavid Evershed 23rd Mar - 2:45pm
    Patrick Maxwell looks back to a time when economic liberalism and social liberalism lived side by side in the Liberal Party. If the Liberal Democrats...
  • User AvatarDavid Evershed 23rd Mar - 2:27pm
    Notoriety gets you on the media but does not win constituency parliamentary elections.
  • User Avatarexpats 23rd Mar - 2:12pm
    It isn't just the media that seem to have 'lost interest' in the LibDem party it is the leadership. Both Cable and Parron missed vital...
  • User AvatarGlenn 23rd Mar - 1:55pm
    Jayne I never said anything about fish. I don't care what the EU does or doesn't do. I'm against it as a political concept on...
  • User Avatarfrankie 23rd Mar - 1:14pm
    David you have obviously not met my wife. It would be a foolish man or woman who tries to coerce my wife. Like us all...