Social Media Advertising (Scottish Government Spending)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 21st September 2022.

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Photo of Neil Bibby Neil Bibby Labour

2. To ask the Scottish Government how much it has allocated in the financial year 2022-23 for it and its agencies to spend on social media advertising. (S6O-01357)

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

Budgets are not allocated by the Scottish Government to agencies specifically for the purposes of social media advertising and information is not held on the breakdown of social media advertising expenditure by agency. Scottish Government spend on social media advertising from April to August 2022 was £371,993.

Photo of Neil Bibby Neil Bibby Labour

It is clear that the Scottish Government spends a significant amount on social media advertising. Last year, the amount was reported to be £2.3 million.

The Deputy First Minister has set out a number of options for spending cuts as part of the Government’s emergency budget review, but that does not appear to include cutting social media advertising expenditure. Clearly, cutting that budget would not offset other difficult decisions, but it is still a significant amount of money. Will the DFM confirm whether the social media advertising budget will be protected, or whether it will be considered for cuts?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

As Mr Bibby will be aware, I have set out an initial round of reductions in budgets, which were explained to Parliament two weeks ago. I do not believe that that will be the last set of reductions that I will have to make because of the enormous financial pressures that we face as a result of inflation and public sector pay.

Currently, I am exploring a range of different aspects of public expenditure, which might be subject to further reductions as part of the emergency budget review and as part of my in-year financial management. That might have an effect on the Government’s advertising and social media costs. I will advise Parliament of what decisions I arrive at on any of those questions in due course.