NEWS28 June 2012

UK govt marketing spend freeze to remain until general election

Government UK

UK— The Cabinet Office has confirmed that its freeze on spending on marketing communications – including research – will remain in place until at least the next general election (which will be held in 2015 at the latest).

Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office Minister, told suppliers that the government does not intend to increase the amount it spends in this parliamentary term.

He said the cross-government curbs on all supplier spending had already saved £3.75bn and the government was on course to save a total of £5bn. Of research, he told Parliament in a written answer: “Commissioning of research and the proposed field for the research will be considered on a case by case basis.”

A freeze on advertising and marketing spending was introduced in the weeks following the formation of a coalition government in 2010, which set a course to slash public spending.

The Central Office of Information (COI), the government’s communications arm, was hit particularly hard. It has since been closed down and replaced by a smaller Government Communications Centre.

In its last year the COI saw its total spend reduced by 68% to £168m. Meanwhile, its research spend was reduced from £27.4m in the 2009/10 financial year to £9.5m for 2010/11. At its peak in 2008/09, the COI was spending £29m on research. It had 108 agencies on its research roster.

The news comes as the government prepares to run tenders for new marketing supplier rosters in the coming weeks. Tenders for a market research roster – incorporating communications planning and strategic planning – will be published in September with appointments due to be made in November.