Government slammed for spending millions on living wage advertising

Living wage: the government reportedly spent £5m on the campaign
Living wage: the government reportedly spent £5m on the campaign

The government has forked out almost £5m on ads for the National Living Wage campaign, which would pay hundreds of people's wages for the next year, the Liberal Democrats have said.

Some 372 people could be paid at the living wage rate of £7.20 an hour, Liberal Democrat research found.

The total budget allocated for the National Living Wage campaign, which will run until the end of April, is £4.95m.

The government anticipates costs of £1.7m for TV and video on demand (VOD); £751,612 for poster advertising; £354,000 for social media advertising; £520,000 for digital display and pay-per-click; £250,000 for print and £299,826 for radio.

Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, said: "It is deeply concerning that the Government is spending millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to push the Conservative political agenda ahead of the local elections.

"This is a bare-faced attempt to use Government funds to promote the fiction that the Conservatives have delivered a living wage."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, which is overseeing the National Living Wage, said: "The government's new National Living Wage is a step up for working people, so it is important workers know their rights and that employers pay the new £7.20 from 1 April this year.

"Britain deserves a pay rise and the government is making sure it gets one."

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