§ Mr. Steinberg
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much the Government have spent on poll tax advertisements(a) during the Bill's passage through Parliament and (b) since, on (i) television, (ii) radio, (iii) newspapers, (iv) leaflets and (v) magazines.
§ Mr. Chris Patten
The Government have commissioned no advertisements for the community charge, either during or since the parliamentary passage of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, to which I assume the hon. Member refers.
Since enactment, my Department has, however, produced and maintained a range of leaflets on individuals' rights and duties under the community charge system, which are available free on request; distributed a leaflet to all households in England when most councils started to compile their registers last year, and took advertising to draw attention to the leaflet; and mounted an information campaign earlier this year to draw people's attention to the availability of community charge benefit and transitional relief, and how to claim them. The rounded costs involved are set out in the table:
£ million 1985–86 1986–87 1987–88 1988–89 1989–90 Wimpeys 3—8.9 2—22.0 5—22.6 2—14.6 4—7.8 Mowlems 9—52.3 4—12.6 8—16.2 5—12.5 4—63.9 Taylor Woodrow — 3—10.1 3—34.3 — 5—65.6 Tarmac 9—82.0 4—27.2 4—96.8 6—17.1 8—67.4 Kier 4—8.4 5—13.7 7—19.0 5—48.8 5—16.1 Laings 4—14.4 6—23.9 10—57.7 2—95.2 4—22.3 Balfour Beatty 7—46.l 5—19.4 4—20.8 2—5.2 8—21.7
£'000 Television advertising 1,624 Radio advertising 282 Newpapers (including freesheets and minority language papers) 1,563 Leaflets (including the household leaflet) 1,645 Magazines 266
In addition the cost of distributing the household leaflet was £301,000.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security has more recently commissioned newspaper advertisements publicising the increased capital limit for community charge benefit announced in the Budget and reminding people of the time limit for making backdated claims and of the income levels likely to entitle people to benefit. My right hon. Friend has also produced free leaflets and a poster on how to claim community charge benefit and on the increased capital limits for income-related benefits.