Press release

Millions saved by government’s marketing and advertising freeze

The Cabinet Office has published early results showing the impact of the government’s marketing and advertising freeze since June 2010.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The government’s marketing and advertising freeze was implemented in June this year.

The figures, which are still unaudited, show there has been an estimated 52% reduction in spending on marketing and advertising campaigns for the first month of the freeze. That is the equivalent of almost £6.5 million in savings, compared to the same period last year for activity and organisations in the scope of the freeze.

The freeze, which is overseen by Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude is part of the government’s drive to get a grip on expenditure and to cut the structural deficit by £6.2 billion this year.

Mr Maude said:

Today’s figures show that this freeze is already starting to make a real difference.  In just the first four weeks we have saved an estimated £6.5 million, proving that big savings can be made quickly by cutting out sometimes wasteful and unnecessary spend on marketing and advertising. The days of spending millions of pounds on expensive projects are over.

I know that tough decisions like this one have difficult consequences and the COI’s restructuring announcement today is evidence of that.  But it is incredibly important that we keep pushing to make government as efficient as possible. As we go forward, we will continue to look for more cost effective ways of delivering key government communications in the future.

Since the freeze was introduced, all new campaigns have had to be sent for approval to the Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG), for a decision by the ERG Ministers. Expenditure may only go ahead if it is essential activity and meets one of the specific exemptions.

Exemptions so far include activity on THINK child road safety, HM Revenue & Customs information on paying business taxes and National Savings and Investments.

The government will further update on savings later in the year but expects a significant reduction in spend compared to the financial year 2009 to 2010.

Notes to editors

  1. All government departments, agencies and non-departmental public bodies have to go through the ERG exemptions process. Today’s figures have not been audited, but give an estimate for the amount that has been saved so far.
  2. Under the marketing and advertising freeze, only essential campaigns are allowed. These include: recruitment advertising for the armed forces; information about paying taxes; advertising and marketing by museums and galleries; where the government has a legal duty to provide people with information; and campaigns where there is unequivocal evidence that campaigns deliver measurable benefits relating directly to immediate public health and safety. Exceptions may also be approved for essential campaigns, on a case by case basis, where providing the information is critical to the effective running of government.
  3. Marketing and advertising activity costing over £25,000 may only proceed when it has received an exemption from the Efficiency and Reform Group. Requests for exemptions for activity over £25,000 are sent from departmental Directors of Communications to the Efficiency and Reform Group.
  4. Today COI announced that it is restructuring to reflect the reduced volume of work and is to reduce its staff numbers by 40%.
  5. The government has committed to make immediate savings of £6.2 billion this year.
  6. The Efficiency and Reform Board is chaired jointly by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the Minister for the Cabinet Office.
  7. For Cabinet Office press office contact details, visit the press office page.
Published 3 August 2010