Public Relations

Oral Answers to Questions — Duchy of Lancaster – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 12th November 2008.

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Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Commons) 11:30 am, 12th November 2008

How much was spent by the Government on public relations, advertising and marketing in (a) 1997 and (b) 2007 according to figures held by the Central Office of Information.

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Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

The relevant figure for 1997 was £81 million and the relevant figure for 2007-08 was £265 million.

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Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Commons)

By a quick bit of maths, I make that a threefold increase over the past 10 years. A great deal of that money has been completely wasted on spin and Government propaganda. Every household in this country is having to cut back on its spending, so will the Government pledge to cut back on this wasted spending on Government propaganda?

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Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

This Government are proud of the extra help that they have put in place for families and businesses in this country. In tough times, that real help will make the world of difference, and now is not the time to keep it secret—it is the time to tell people about it. The Conservative party must come a bit cleaner than it has so far. It must tell us which of the recruitment campaigns for the armed forces and for teaching staff it will shut down, and which public health campaigns and road safety campaigns it will shut down. Those campaigns make a real difference, and the Conservatives, in their desperate search for money for tax cuts, could do a lot of damage to this country.

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