(2) how much his Department and its agencies spent on placing the advertisement which appeared in the Sunday Times on 11 January 2009 relating to the one-off payment of £60 to Christmas bonus recipients; what other publications this advertisement was placed in; at what cost; and whether he approved the text in the advertisement.
The advertising was booked and bought together to provide coverage across key media titles. The total media cost for the week's advertising was £75,110.92.
The advert was placed in the following 19 daily and weekly titles:
The News of the World
Daily Star Sunday
Mail on Sunday
Independent on Sunday
The advertising was undertaken to make pensioners, and their family and friends, aware of the additional Christmas bonus payment they will receive, announced in the Pre Budget Report on 24 November 2008.
The advertising explained that the payment would be made separately from the usual Christmas bonus and could be received at any time between January and March. It aimed to ensure that pensioners understood what the payment was and when they would receive it; and thus also to limit calls to the Department's contact centres.
The additional Christmas Bonus payment was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his 2008 Pre-Budget Report as one means of providing short-term support to help vulnerable groups through the economic downturn. The words 'real help now' appear on all public facing communications designed to promote support for the public and business during the economic downturn.
Given that some 15 million individuals will receive this additional payment advertising was deemed the most cost-effective way of communicating information to this group of our customers. The alternative way of reaching this group directly was through direct mail which would have been less efficient in this instance (estimated mailing costs to reach a group of this size are approximately £3.3 million).
The advertising copy was approved by senior officials in the Department for Work and Pensions and the Pension, Disability and Carers Service. Ministers were informed of the planned activity.