US advertising bounces back

5.1% gain for first quarter is the first gain for the sector in two years.

Spending on advertising in the US rose 5.1 per cent year-over-year for the first quarter of 2010, indicating that the market has bounced back.

This is the first time that advertising spend has registered a quarterly gain in two years, according to a study published by the UK-based Kantar Media Research.

The increment marks the most significant gain since the first three months of 2006.

Blue-chip companies such as Procter & Gamble, AT&T, Pfizer and General Motors have contributed to the quarterly gain, the report said.

The study showed Sunday newspaper magazines, national newspapers and Spanish-language newspapers registering gains in the country, but local newspapers, magazines and specialty B2B publications suffered losses in terms of advertising

Consumer magazine spending in the US dipped 3.9 per cent, while local newspapers slipped 5.6 per cent during the first quarter of this year, the report stated.

Getty Images.
Show Hide image

Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.