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We’re All ‘Funding Hate’: UK Government Biggest Spender on GB News Advertising

Film producer and former peer David Puttnam speaks up against taxpayer support for the controversial channel

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We are all “funding hate”, according to a Byline Times analysis that reveals the Government is by far the biggest spender on GB News advertising. 

Despite GB News often platforming racists and conspiracy theorists, and facing record numbers of Ofcom investigations, more than £1 million of UK taxpayer money has been spent on almost 10,500 ads since the channel launched in summer 2021. 

That works out at an annual cost of around £340,000 to taxpayers, who subsidise a network owned by a Dubai hedge fund and billionaire Conservative Party donor Paul Marshall, which posted losses of £73 million in its first two years. 

Excluding Sky – which bought more ads than the government but at a cheaper rate, due to it being a GB News ad sales partner – the second-biggest GB News advertiser was MoneySuperMarket. The price comparison website company bought around a third of the number of commercials, although it stopped advertising on the station last July.


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Former Labour peer David Puttnam, who was chair of the House of Lords’ cross-party committee which in 2020 recommended that political advertising should be regulated according to factual accuracy, said: “If you’re judged by who your friends are, then I guess that the Government funding hate through GB News should come as no surprise. 

“As taxpayers, we seem to have reached a point at which there are no limits to political embarrassment when it comes to spending our money.”

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) is run by the Cabinet Office and is responsible for Government ad spending. The Cabinet Office was asked last September in a Freedom of Information request how much it had paid GB News to advertise, but said it did not hold the information. 

However, Byline Times’ analysis of advertising figures from Barb – an organisation which compiles audience measurement and television ratings – gives a breakdown of the type and number of GB News commercials funded by UK taxpayers, and their associated costs.

Since July 2021, the Government’s biggest outlay has been £152,000 on 1,198 adverts promoting cancer screening, £132,000 on 1,180 ads for ‘Help for Households’, and £127,000 on 802 commercials promoting teacher recruitment.

Around £146,000 has been spent trying to recruit youngsters into careers in the Navy (£48,00 on 824 adverts), the Army (£45,000 / 1,008), the Royal Marines (£36,000 / 491) and the RAF (£17,000 / 440).


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GB News, which employs as its star presenter former Brexit Party MEP Nigel Farage and is generally pro-Brexit, as is its major funder Paul Marshall, received £11,000 for running 73 adverts in June 2021 about ‘EU transition’. 

In early 2022 the Government spent £5,500 appealing for GB News viewers to “pick pork medallions”. 

GB News has faced criticism for spreading anti-vaxx conspiracy theories; just £433 was spent on a single Covid-19 advert, which spent one day on air in November 2021.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “The Government advertises across a wide range of platforms and channels to communicate to the widest audience possible. All advertising space is independently purchased by an agency, OmniGOV, to achieve this reach, while also prioritising value for money for taxpayers.”

GB News did not respond to a request for comment.

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