Celebrities Paid [Pounds Sterling]325,000 to Appear in Government Ad Campaigns

Article excerpt

Byline: Jo Macfarlane

ED BALLS'S Government department has spent more than [pounds sterling]325,000 of taxpayers' money in less than two years on celebrities to front its public information campaigns.

The Department of Children, Schools and Families paid nearly 80 famous faces - including Skins actor Nicholas Hoult, Gavin And Stacey star Joanna Page and TV agony aunt Denise Robertson - to work as ambassadors for issues from promoting reading to discouraging teenage pregnancy.

Some celebrities - such as former England footballer John Barnes, Waterloo Road actress Angela Griffin and comedienne Jo Brand - have lent their services more than once, meaning they were paid several times from the public purse.

Last night, the DCSF refused to reveal how much each celebrity was paid because of 'commercial sensitivity'. It also said it was unable to reveal which stars carried out their work for free or asked for their fees to be donated to charity.

However, a Freedom of Information request by The Mail on Sunday has found [pounds sterling]325,556 was paid to wellknown figures between February 2008 and December 2009.

It means many of the celebrities could have made thousands of pounds from their work providing voiceovers, taking part in photoshoots and making public appearances. …