HC Deb 11 March 2004 vol 418 cc1644-5W
Mr. George Osborne

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) on how many occasions his Department has placed advertisements in Hello magazine; [157965]

(2)what the total cost of his Department's advertising in Hello magazine was in each of the last five years; [157967]

(3)what the cost is of each of his Department's advertisements in Hello magazine for tax credits. [157968]

Dawn Primarolo

A small amount of advertising has been placed in Hello! magazine by the Inland Revenue (IR) in recent years in support of its Tax Credits campaigns. This is because analysis of its readership indicated an appropriate percentage of people entitled to claim Tax Credits.

There was no advertising prior to 2002, but in the last three years IR placed:

  • 2002: 4 insertions
  • 2003: 2–insertions
  • 2004: 3 insertions

There have been no advertisements placed in support of other issues or by any other departments responsible to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Like most central Government Departments, the IR buys media space using specialist agencies contracted through the Central Office of Information (COI).

Through its bulk-buying power, COI negotiates significant discounts on rate-card prices. To protect this, and the thus the added value it achieves for taxpayers' money, it maintains commercial confidentiality agreements in which it undertakes not to publicise charges levied by individual publications in single instances.

Media planning and buying for large campaigns such as New Tax Credits is focused purely on the most effective way of reaching the target audience-the publications they read or TV channels they watch, for example.

Overall spends for major campaigns are published regularly, often in response to parliamentary questions or press queries.