Covid-19 breakdown of media expenditure: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

1. How much has the SNP spent on media for covid 19 everyday?

2. How much is the budget?

3. Have the SNP used money that could have fed homeless and poorer families just to talk about a virus with a 99.9% survival rate?


This response has been drafted on the basis that you are looking for details on expenditure by the Scottish Government rather than the Scottish National Party (SNP). If you require details on expenditure by the SNP, this is not information held by the Scottish Government.

1. The spend on media linked to COVID-19 has been £18,367,658 since the first booking on 15 March 2020 until 6 May 2021. This is a spend of £44,047 per day. This expenditure has been an important part of tackling the pandemic by highlighting to the public to the actions they should and should not be taking to reduce their risk of being exposed to the virus and what they need to do if they have been. For example, this has incorporated work relating to Test & Protect, awareness of key symptoms, restrictions, FACTS and the importance of being vaccinated.

In addition to this, £3 million was allocated to support the newspaper industry, through an agreement with the Scottish Government to purchase an agreed level of advertising during financial year 2020-2021. This served the dual purpose of supporting a business sector affected by a downturn in their revenues due to COVID-19, as well as offering us an effective way of reaching the public with the key information highlighted above.

2. The spend for each COVID-19 campaign is costed and submitted for Ministerial approval prior to committing the expenditure. The volume and nature of the campaigns means that there is no fixed budget for this activity as campaign activity has to respond to developments within the pandemic. Each campaign is planned based on the message, target audience and urgency.

3. Far from diverting money, the Scottish Government has offered significant support to some of the most vulnerable people in our society over the last 15 months to support them in what has been an unprecedented public health and economic emergency. For example, a £30 million package of funding was made available to local authorities to support people facing financial hardship as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), including money to provide free school meals over the school holidays. The Self-Isolation Support grant was introduced for those who would face financial issues as a result of being asked to self-isolate. The Winter Plan for Social Protection included £5m to help those at risk of homelessness find a settled home.

The funding for media campaigns has been from the Scottish Government health budget. Therefore, no funds have been taken from budgets allocated for those who are homeless or support for families. In relation to homelessness, marketing campaigns have been undertaken to support those in rented accommodation to prevent unlawful evictions and make them aware of their rights. We have also delivered campaigns to families who face financial pressures as a result of the pandemic to increase awareness of the benefits and financial support available to them.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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