Daily Record slammed in Government ad spend row

By Hamish Mackay

Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie has
criticised the Scottish Executive after it was revealed that 90 per
cent of its newspaper advertising spend on health, anti-racism and
bullying measures last year was placed with the Scottish Daily Record.

The
Trinity Mirror-owned tabloid picked up £906,551 from the Scottish
Executive between 1 April last year and 31 March this year.

The
advertising spend for the rest of the national dailies combined was
£194,000. The Scottish Sun, which is in a fierce circulation battle
with the Scottish Daily Record, carried a news story pointing out that
it had only been awarded contracts worth £40,000.

According to
The Herald: “The newspaper advertising spend of the Executive was
weighted overwhelmingly in favour of the Daily Record, which carried
ministerial messages in the form of campaigns on the newspaper’s
editorial pages, with ministers having the final say on what appeared.”

The Scottish Sun quoted Scottish MSP Brian Monteith, who chairs the
Scottish Parliament’s audit committee, as saying: “No agency could
justify this spend when the Daily Record’s sales are falling and sales
of the Scottish Sun are up.”

In the ABC figures for April, the
Daily Record’s average net circulation in Scotland was 413,737 copies –
compared to the Scottish Sun’s 389,503.

The advertising spend
figures were revealed in a Scottish parliamentary written answer to
Goldie who said: “Over the 20 months covered by this answer, the
Labour-Lib Dem executive has spent a staggering £3.7m on newspaper
advertising alone.

“This, of course, is only a fraction of its total PR spend which runs at over £10m per year.

“It
is one thing to advertise for job vacancies – even if they only add to
the Executive’s ever-growing army of civil servants. Some spending on
public information might also be justified.

“But there is a
growing suspicion that much of it is little short of propaganda for
Labour and the Lib Dems. There is a curiously uneven spend between
different outlets, even allowing for different readerships of the
newspapers.”

A Scottish Executive spokesman told The Herald:
“The largest proportion of the spend in the Daily Record was on weekly
double-page public information campaigns on issues like organ donation,
anti-racisim and bullying.”

He said deals were also in place
with other newspapers and groups, adding: “Accusations of propoganda
are simply not true. This was a cost-effective way off getting very
important messages across to the largest target audience.”

The
detailed spend was:

  • Scottish Daily Mail £15,542,
  • Guardian £23,362,
  • News
    of The World £7432,
  • Scottish Daily Express £1440,
  • Scottish Mail on
    Sunday £500,
  • Scottish Sun £40,051,
  • Scottish Sunday Express £840,
  • Sunday
    Times Scotland £3,160,
  • Metro £74,612,
  • The Herald £49,573,
  • Sunday Herald
    £12,860,
  • Scotland on Sunday £5079,
  • The Scotsman £51,530,
  • Scottish Daily
    Record £906,551,
  • Scottish Sunday Mail £29,195,
  • Sunday Post £8,960,
  • Aberdeen Evening Express £18,847,
  • Dundee Evening Telegraph £7,280,
  • Edinburgh Evening News £21,469,
  • Glasgow Evening Times £30,692,
  • Press and
    Journal, Aberdeen, £43,178,
  • Dundee Courier £32,755.

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