The DWP has massively increased its spending on advertising in an effort to improve the image of universal credit, according to figures obtained by the SNP.
The total cost of DWP advertising has risen by over 700% in the last two years, up from £511,227 in 2016/17 to £4,059,109 in 2018/19.
Bob Doris MSP said:
“These figures are frankly insulting for those struggling on Universal Credit – an ill thought-out welfare scheme which has forced families into debt, rent arrears, foodbanks and destitution.
“The DWP has ploughed ahead with the botched roll-out of Universal Credit, despite all the warnings they’ve received.
“Now they’re trying to airbrush the utter failure of their flagship welfare policy - spending millions of taxpayers’ money on a one-sided advertising campaign which is now under investigation for being misleading.
“Rather than face up to the overwhelming criticism of their botched reform and fix Universal Credit, the Tories have decided to push their PR operation into overdrive.”
The full figures for advertising spending are:
Financial year 2016/17
Channel Spend Media - Digital advertising £81,107 Media - Radio £124,883 Media - Press £114,927 Media – Out of Home £190,310 Total £511,227
Financial year 2017/18
Channel Spend Media - Digital advertising £828,839 Media - Radio £299,828 Media - Local Press £64,224 Media – Out of Home £499,950 Total £1,692,841
Financial year 2018/19
Channel Spend Media – Digital advertising £2,197,042 Media – Out of Home £1,100,105 Media - Radio £526,533 Media - Local Press £235,429 Total £4,059,109
Note: Out of home advertising includes such things as billboards and posters on public transport.