Stephen Williams: Labour spent £38m taxpayer cash on News International advertising

From a party news release:

The Government spent nearly £38m on advertising in News International titles between 2005 and 2010, a Parliamentary answer to Co-chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Treasury Committee, Stephen Williams, has revealed.

The figures show:

  • More than £17m was spent advertising in The Sun, including £4.5m between April 2009 and March 2010.
  • More than £7m was spent advertising in the News of the World, including £1.8m between April 2009 and March 2010.
  • £877,153 was spent advertising in all News International titles between April 2010 and March 2011.

Commenting, Stephen Williams said:

Despite the dire state of public finances, the Labour Government continued to spend millions with the Murdoch tabloids.

This confirms the impression that the last Government was obsessed with spin and prepared to use taxpayers’ money to push its agenda with a bloated advertising budget.

I am glad the Coalition has slashed expenditure by 90 per cent with these titles, continuing only essential information messages.

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10 Comments

  • John Roffey 20th Jul '11 - 3:27pm

    Was this raised during today’s debate?

  • What a ridiculous story.

    To argue that the slashing of government spending on advertising is a good thing is a legitimate debating point. However, to put a ‘New of the World’ headline on the story, during the current scandal, is completely disingenuous and smacks of crass opportunism. So, how much was spent on advertising in other papers?

    No wonder the latest Ipsos MORI/Reuters shows support for the three major parties in decline, with an attendant rise in support for fringe parties.

  • What is the content of the advertising? Presumably it was information about things like how to get the Swine Flu vaccine?

    Without this, there is no context.

  • Is this an argument that the government shouldn’t run public information campaigns? Or one that it shouldn’t run public information campaigners in the popular press? Or that somehow public information campaigns run in the popular press are prima facie evidence of wrongdoing?

    This site’s insistence on interpreting even the most innocent of the Labour government’s actions as evidence of wrong doing is beyond parody.

    As an aside, I noticed Danny Alexander and Nick Clegg looking very uncomfortable in parliament today.

  • John Roffey 20th Jul '11 - 4:26pm

    @ g: I don’t see why these gentlemen should feel uncomfortable. After all defending Cameron against claims of corruption was in the Coalition agreement – wasn’t it?

  • More anti-Labour propaganda from the LibDems. We get it and we agree 100%: New Labour under Brown and Blair was nothing short of a disaster. Do you really need to run attack pieces on Labour every day when there are plenty of more important things to discuss? Like the fact that the government buried the news yesterday about opening up more competition in the NHS.

    It is now YOU and your Tory mates who are now in control of the government. You’ve used the “blame Labour” attack for over a year now and it is really getting boring. It is Nick Clegg who is defending Cameron against allegations of corruption in stronger terms than many Tories. Your party has been almost invisible through this whole hacking scandal. Why are you not making more capital out of the fact you weren’t in bed with Murdoch? Why are you not speaking out like you would do in opposition? The only conclusion I can come to is that you won’t because you’re more concerned with the survival of the coalition, your MPs and Dodgy Dave in particular.

    But then again, with the way admitted benefit cheat Davis Laws is being feted on this blog is proof that you really don’t care about corruption when it comes to your mates. You only care about Labour corruption.

  • @G – There is a lot in the claim that in government Labour used the state’s publicity machine to the max. There was IIRC a Panorama programme on this looking at spending in the run up to elections. It was – prima facie – legitimate in that is was on things like benefit fraud hotlines, ways to tackle ASB etc. But those also reflected their political campaigning priorities.

    But it’s hardly surprising that a proportionate chunk of advertising was spent in the two papers with the highest readership (Sun & NotW)

  • If it was standard government advertising, surely it makes sense to advertise in the biggest selling papers no matter how dreadful they are? This is a complete non-story.

  • Terry Gilbert 21st Jul '11 - 12:08am

    It is disappointing that we continue to trot out anti Labour stuff like this, especially when there has been criticism of the LACK of public vaccination advertising, whilst our senior spokesmen ignore the stench around Cameron. The DPM pointedly gazed at a spot somewhere near his old seat on the other side of the House….

    Bravo to Jo Swinson though, who demanded to know whether Blair and Cameron’s closeness to Murdoch was the reason they ignored Lib Dems’ calls for a judicial inquiry into hacking last year. Hands up any journos out there who noticed that the question came from the PPS to none other than dear old Vinnie ‘The-Murdoch-Slayer’ Cable.

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