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Welsh Government to spend £810k on 20mph adverts

Created on 01/08/2023 @ 14:23

MyNewtown and sister site MyWelshpool has discovered that the Welsh Government is set to spend a whopping £810,000 on advertising its new 20mph speed limits this summer.

And in a frustrating twist, we have also sadly learned that not a single penny of that budget is earmarked for independent Welsh media outlets like MyNewtown and MyWelshpool.

The shocking figure was revealed by a Freedom of Information request made by our fellow independent news friends at who, like us, are becoming increasingly agitated by huge sums of tax payers’ money being ploughed year-round into major media companies’ newspapers and social media giants based outside Wales.

The 20mph campaign represents one of the biggest Government advertising spends in Wales ever, and yet the Senedd’s plan even includes a section that they expect local hyperlocal sites, likes us, to carry the campaign for free in a section called ‘earned media’.

It’s a slap in the face for the vibrant independent news sector in Wales which has grown considerably in strength with hundreds of thousands of daily visitors reading quality local news, including tens of thousands that log onto MyWelshpool and MyNewtown.

We asked the Welsh Government why we have been shunned and a spokesperson said: “The impact of changing the national default speed limit to 20mph requires a national communications approach.

“We have been working closely with stakeholders across Wales on a local level and will continue to review where we need to invest our targeted communications moving forward.”

The Welsh Government relies on advertising agencies to spend its millions of pounds in annual advertising campaigns wisely, and the 20mph campaign is being managed by Lynn PR.

Independent news sites like MyWelshpool and MyNewtown rely on advertising to enable us to serve our communities, and while the local business sector has been fantastically supportive, we are regularly ignored by the major public purse spenders like Powys County Council and Welsh Government.

“I see this as a massive mis-spending of public money,” said MyTown Media Ltd co-founder David Williams. “We are consistently reaching out to more and more local people on a regular basis, providing public institutions with a huge opportunity to communicate with a large local audience, and yet we continue to be ignored in favour of pages and pages of advertising appearing in the newspapers and the like.

“All we are asking for is a fair piece of the pie to ensure that public money is better spent, and that money is, in turn, invested into ensuring the independent news sector can survive and thrive.”

The 20mph speed will become the default limit in many built-up areas across the country from mid-September, however there will be exceptions, which will again be advertised in the local printed press as public notices. That expense is not included in the £810,000 budget. 

“Don’t be surprised if local people are caught out in this area come September because they don’t know what’s happening,” Mr Williams added.