The Treasury employed PR agency Fishburn Hedges and advertising
agency Ogilvy and Mather to help it fine-tune the presentation of last
week’s Budget, it emerged this week.
Fishburn Hedges conducted market research, including focus groups, and
gave strategic presentation advice on the Government’s Individual
Savings Account (ISA) policy.
ISAs, which will replace tax exempt special savings accounts (Tessas)
and personal equity plans(Peps) next year, were criticised last year
when the Government consulted on proposals to tax some transfers of Peps
and Tessas to ISA accounts. By the time the ISA policy was included in
the Budget, the tax proposal had been scrapped.
A Treasury spokeswoman confirmed the agencies had been used for
’developing key messages and providing presentational advice’ but
declined to comment on whether this practice was likely to become a
permanent part of the Budget process.
Ron Finlay, a director at Fishburn Hedges said: ’It gave an interesting
insight into the working of Government and it was nice to see Government
being more consultative and open than in the past.’
Ogilvy and Mather was appointed by the Treasury to work on the working
family tax credit, a measure which guarantees all families with at least
one working parent a minimum income above the level of the minimum wage.