NEWS12 August 2010

MR spend criticised as UK government department reveals £31m research bill

Government UK

UK— Spending by the Labour government on market research and polling came in for criticism this morning from the new Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition as the Department of Communities and Local Government (CLG) published a breakdown of all expenditure over £500.

Of 1,913 items totalling £314m, 167 were categorised as ‘research’ with a cumulative value of £31m.

In among the various government departments and academic institutions listed as CLG research suppliers were commercial agencies like BMRB (which invoiced £371,000 ), BDRC (£18,000 ), GfK NOP (£17,000 ), Mori (£4.4m), Opinion Leader (£71,000 ) and TNS (£57,000 ).

Gartner and GfK NOP also carried out strategic consultancy work for the department worth £19,000 and £12,000 respectively. A full rundown of all spending can be found online here.

The published figures show £16m was spent on marketing, advertising, promotion and events in the last financial year, as well as £635,000 on taxis and cars and nearly £310,000 on catering and food.

But local government minister Bob Neill (pictured) chose to focus his ire on market research spend, especially those projects worth more than £100,000.

Speaking to the Press Association he said: “Splashing out six-figure sums on pollsters appears to be another one of Labour’s vanity projects. It’s unforgivable that a culture of excess was allowed to flourish for so long.”

The minister’s sentiments suggest research spend could be in line for significant cuts as the department looks to do its bit in reducing government spending. In a statement, CLG said it had identified a further £32m in savings it could make on top of the £6.2bn in cross-departmental cuts ordered by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury in May.

The coalition government is aiming to make £83bn in savings by 2014-15.


1 Comment

14 years ago

It's good to know that politicians in the new government can make as wonderfully stupid and self-serving comments as those in the old one!

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