Downing Street is under growing pressure to spell out how much taxpayers’ money was invested in the Government’s 30-minute documentary on the UK’s coronavirus vaccine roll-out.
Critics have identified the video, entitled ‘A Beacon of Hope: The UK Vaccine Story’, a piece of ‘pricey federal government propaganda’ after a trailer for the movie was revealed.
Number 10 today firmly insisted the documentary has actually been made by its ‘in-house’ social media group at ‘definitely no extra cost for the taxpayer’.
But there are concerns over how many staff worked on the job, how many hours they invested in it and what the total budget is of the social media group as critics stated the film was a wild-goose chase and cash and argued the Government ought to be concentrated on promoting public health messages or offering nurses a bigger pay rise.
Last spring the Government hired a number of roles for a video team, on wages of around ₤ 40,000. Their responsibilities consisted of ‘taking video to the next level in government to reach brand-new and underserved audiences’.
Downing Street defended the choice to make the film, with Boris Johnson’s Authorities Spokesman arguing it was made to ‘thank everybody included’ in the roll-out and to ‘motivate a lot more individuals to come forward and take their jabs’.
The slickly-produced 50-second preview clip features interviews with government scientific advisers consisting of Jonathan Van-Tam, Sir Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty.
Ministers have come under fire for their PR efforts in current months, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak producing an expensive-looking pre-Budget video featuring 134 pictures of himself and No10 utilizing taxpayer-funded photographers for an Instagram-style photoshoot of Mr Johnson’s pet Dilyn.
The video came a week after Mr Sunak shared an individually Zoom chat with star chef Gordon Ramsay to talk about the future of the dining establishment industry, which was slammed as ‘tone-deaf’ by chefs who questioned whether the multi-millionaire was an authority on the impact on small businesses.
On the other hand, Number 10 has actually also drawn criticism for using three ‘vanity’ professional photographers to snap images of ministers and Downing Street animals, which are then distributed through official social media accounts.
And it emerged recently that ₤ 2.6 million has actually been invested in preparing the centers for televised press briefings by the PM’s spokeswoman Allegra Stratton, which have yet to begin.
Critics accused Number 10 of wasting time and taxpayers’ money promoting the programme rather than focusing on promoting public health or giving nurses a bigger pay increase – while others sardonically asked if they could anticipate another film about Test and Trace. Another Twitter user jokingly referred it to a North Korean propaganda broadcast
The PM’s Official Spokesman was asked at lunch break whether Mr Johnson thought the vaccine movie to be a proper use of taxpayers’ cash.
The spokesperson responded: ‘That is a video to thank everyone associated with what has been a huge nationwide effort, establishing and distributing vaccines across the UK.
‘ It is also part of our work to encourage even more individuals to come forward and take their jabs and to continue to develop confidence in both the security and effectiveness of the vaccinations.
‘ I would also include that it was made by an internal Number 10 team, the social media group here in Number 10, definitely no additional cost for the taxpayer.’
Told that Number 10’s social networks team is paid for by the taxpayer and that therefore the movie need to have cost something to make, the representative said: ‘It is the social networks group in Number 10, producing social networks material. As you see daily the social media team fruit and vegetables and share content on a series of digital platforms.
‘ It stays the case that it is their role to show what the Federal government is doing and as I say it is a video to thank those who have actually been associated with this brave effort and to encourage more individuals to come forward to take the vaccine.’
Asked what the budget is for Number 10’s social media group, the representative said: ‘I don’t have those figures in front of me but as I state, the video itself, the documentary itself, didn’t include any additional expense to the taxpayer, it was completely produced internal by that team.’
The Federal government’s political opponents slammed Number 10 for proceeding with the documentary.
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey told The Times: ‘I’m sure that many individuals will question why the prime minister is more concerned about producing expensive government propaganda than paying nurses appropriately.’
Angela Rayner MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party said: ‘Sorry for the spoiler, but we currently understand the plot twist will be the Prime Minister selecting to cut the pay of the same nurses providing the vaccine to the British people, while handing out billions in contracts to Conservative Party donors and cronies.’
Twitter user Sarah Murphy included: ‘There is something truly obscene about the federal government putting out a self-congratulatory propaganda piece on the vaccine.
‘ On the back of such negligence, such catastrophe. If they appreciated us at all, their unforgivable failures would weigh too heavily on them to do this.’
Asked by Great Early morning Britain’s Ben Shepherd whether the film was the best usage of public cash, Business Minister Paul Scully said: ‘What it does is thank all the people involved in the vaccination program. It doesn’t commemorate government, it celebrates partnership.
‘ Yes there was government financial investment to back our researchers however it’s the researchers themselves, the universities, working with the private sector, dealing with the NHS and all the volunteers who have made it all occur.’
In reaction to a concern about nurses’ pay, Mr Scully stated: ‘The politicking around it is truly regrettable – there was an independent pay review body that looked at this.’
Sir Patrick Vallance, who is Chief Scientific Consultant, stated in his interview: ‘A lot of vaccines do not make it, they tip over at some time along the method’
The official documentary revealed the other day is called: ‘A Beacon of Hope: The UK Vaccine Story’
The film was made within Number 10 – MailOnline has actually asked the number of civil servants were tasked with its production, how long it took them, and the total cost in hours worked
‘ We were on a mission’: What government researchers state in the trailer Prof Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, said in the trailer: ‘Back in March, we’re heading into lockdown. The NHS is coming under extreme pressure. ‘We were on a mission, and the objective was to get vaccines for the UK. It’s simply a colossal effort that I do not believe individuals will understand has happened behind the scenes.’ Sir Patrick, who is Chief Scientific Consultant, stated in his interview: ‘Most vaccines do not make it, they fall over at some point along the way.’ He later on included: ‘Amazing, unexpected, wonderful – it was one day of real happiness and thinking, yes, there’s a way out of this.’ And Mr Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England, stated: ‘We were not definitely positive at all that any vaccine would be possible.’ The trailer likewise consists of a flashback clip of Prime Minister Boris Johnson informing the nation: ‘You must stay at home.’ Ad
In the film, Teacher Van-Tam explains Britain as having been ‘on an objective’ to make a vaccine, while Sir Patrick speaks about the ‘amazing, unexpected, great’ achievement.
The short movie was promoted on Twitter by the Prime Minister’s official Twitter account and on his Facebook page.
The release date has actually not yet been validated, however the Twitter account said it was ‘coming quickly’ after posting the trailer about 3pm the other day.
The idea for the program is said to have come about in No10 ‘after the broadcasters revealed little interest in telling the story themselves’, according to the Viewer.
However, referring to the NHS pay disagreement, shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds tweeted: ‘Is the twist that the Conservatives cut the pay of individuals delivering the vaccine?’
Lib Dem peer Chris Rennard tweeted: ‘Billions wasted on Test and Trace, taxpayers funding Conservative propaganda, however they will not pay nurses what they were promised.’
The advert was likewise criticised and lampooned by other social networks users, who published a series of memes of people looking not impressed.
One tweeted a picture of Mr Johnson and composed: ‘This success with the NHS vaccine program does not outweigh his ‘evident success’ with Covid.
‘ Quick to declare the credit but discovers it difficult to take the blame he’s culpable for our worst death toll and no UNDESERVED headings change that.’
Another tweeted: ‘Money for this and ₤ 37billion for a stopped working track and trace system however not for nurses? Really? You really are obnoxious and out of touch with truth.’
And a 3rd said: ‘A Beacon of Hope in an otherwise s *** storm of failure and incompetence.
‘ However hey, you make a little marketing video and convince yourself that you’re terrific. I eagerly anticipate the video explaining how the failed test and trace system cost us ₤ 32billion.’.
The federal government has come under fire for its publicity efforts in recent months, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak producing an expensive-looking video including 134 pictures of himself before the Budget.
Mr Sunak’s pre-Budget promotional video clocked in at almost six minutes long and features clips from a casual sit down interview cut with video of him in the Commons and out on official sees.
The Chancellor likewise faced the fury of people operating in bars, bars and restaurants over his online chat with multi-millionaire F-Word star, which was recorded by Federal government media.
Mr Sunak’s pre-Budget advertising video clocked in at almost six minutes long and includes clips from an informal take a seat interview cut with footage of him in the Commons and out on main sees.
It also shows all of the financial backing efforts advanced by the Treasury during the coronavirus crisis and sets whatever versus an orchestral soundtrack.
The clip consisted of 134 pictures of the chancellor, while the music used in the very first couple of seconds expenses nearly ₤ 400 to licence for a national online ad campaign, according to the Mirror.
The glossy video came just a week after Mr Sunak published an one-on-one Zoom chat with star chef and TV game show host Gordon Ramsay on official Government channels.
The Chancellor faced the fury of people working in pubs, bars and dining establishments over his online chat with multi-millionaire F-Word star.
Hospitality has actually been among the hardest-hit sectors of the economy because last March, with repeated lockdowns and limitations on opening at other times.
Mr Sunak presented a tweet which stated the 2 men talked about ‘the challenges dealing with hospitality and how he launched a TV program in lockdown’.
In a video later launched, Mr Ramsay, who is investing lockdown at one of his houses in Cornwall, stated his brand name was ‘a standard bearer for the market’.
Boris Johnson has been accused of using taxpayer money to fund a vanity job after Downing Street launched pictures of an Instagram-style photoshoot of his dog playing in the snow.
A series of expertly staged pictures showing Dilyn frolicking in No10’s backgarden were released by means of the federal government’s main Flickr page previously today.
Fulfill the snappers: Photographers utilized to ensure ministers (and their family pets) always look their best Andrew Parsons Not unfamiliar to Downing St, Mr Parsons works as the PM’s Special Advisor part-time on the equivalent of ₤ 100,000 a year. Mr Parsons was previously used by David Cameron while he was opposition leader and then on a short-term agreement after he ended up being Prime Minister. He however lost his cabinet desk and was moved onto Conservative Celebration payroll after Mr Cameron bowed to extreme criticism about the appointment. Mr Parsons offered a few of the most remarkable images of Boris Johnson throughout the 2019 election, for which his company was paid ₤ 45,000. He has actually considering that been returned on the general public payroll by Mr Johnson. Pippa Fowles One of three taxpayer-funded vanity photographers on staff in Downing Street, Ms Fowles is working on secondment from the Ministry of Defence. According to her Linkedin profile Ms Fowles covered the Royal Air Force for more than four years prior to signing up with No10 in January last year. She is the Prime Minister’s official photographer. Simon Dawson Not to puzzle functions, Mr Dawson is the Chief Federal government professional photographer, giving him a broader remit of work than Ms Fowles. He worked as a freelance photographer for Bloomberg News and Associated Press for over a decade prior to joining the government’s operation. Simon Walker Entrusted with cultivating brand Rishi, Mr Walker is the Digital Content Editor and Image Lead at HM Treasury. Starting as a freelancer in 1987, he has actually worked as a professional photographer for the Daily Express and The Times, before ending up being News Photo Editor at The Times in 2004. After leaving Reuter’s image desk in 2018 he moved quickly towards consultancy work prior to signing up with HMRC at the end of 2019. Advertisement.
Mr Sunak, the second most senior minister in the Government, informed the 54-year-old chef he was ‘super fired up’ to talk to him, including: ‘Thanks for making the time for me.’.
But the video and images posted online sent Twitter into disaster, with users asking how Mr Ramsay could talk with authority about the influence on small companies.
‘ Up next – Rishi speaks with (F1 racing chauffeur) Lewis Hamilton about the problems dealing with regular people working in the transport industry,’ one wag composed.
London based chef Kerstin Rodgers added: ‘This is truly tone deaf. Interview freelancers operating in hospitality, small restaurant owners, chefs and foh (front of house). Why are you consumed with star?’.
The Chancellor later on posted a set of images from the conversation on the Government’s main Flickr channel.
Downing Street now employs three professional photographers to snap pictures of ministers and government pets, such as Larry the feline.
Last month, Downing Street safeguarded utilizing taxpayer-funded professional photographers for an Instagram-style photoshoot of Mr Johnson’s dog Dilyn playing in the snow – by recommending he was a Government minister.
In what critics recommended was an individual vanity job, a series of professionally staged photos revealing the Jack Russell frolicking in No10’s back garden were released via the federal government’s official Flickr page.
A day in the past, another of No10’s 3 publicly-funded professional photographers launched a candid shot he had actually taken of Larry the feline, Downing Street’s chief mouser, on a bookcase below a portrait of The Queen.
The photoshoots, eventually at the expense of the taxpayer, have raised questions about the work of No10’s press operation, forcing the government to protect the pictures.
Asked whether photographers must be taking photos of Dilyn and Larry, the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: ‘These photographers record the work of the government in addition to the work inside Number 10. We make these photos available for editorial usage not simply domestically but globally too.’.
Asked whether images of Dilyn counted as documenting the work of government, they added that they took images ‘not simply of the PM but the entire of the Cabinet’, suggesting the rescue animal had become a Federal government leading dog.
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner stated: ‘The general public will be appropriately questioning why there is obviously no limitation on the money that can be found to spend for a coterie of vanity photographers for the Prime Minister.’.
The photos are credited to professional photographer Pippa Fowles, one of three vanity professional photographers on staff in Downing Street, who is understood to be operating in Number 10 on secondment from the Ministry of Defence since January 2020.
While the quality of the snaps is not in doubt, her role comes regardless of the Mr Johnson already using a personal professional photographer, Andrew Parsons, as his Special Consultant part-time on the equivalent of ₤ 100,000 a year.
Mr Parsons was previously utilized by David Cameron while opposition leader and after that on a short-term contract after he ended up being Prime Minister.
He however lost his cabinet desk and was moved onto Conservative Party payroll after Mr Cameron acquiesced extreme criticism about the visit.
Downing Street now uses three professional photographers to snap pictures of ministers and federal government animals, including Dilyn.
Another of the official photographers took a candid shot of Larry the feline, Downing Street’s chief mouser, on a bookcase below a portrait of The Queen.
Mr Parsons offered photographs for Boris Johnson during the 2019 election, for which his business was paid ₤ 45,000. He has considering that been returned on the public payroll by Mr Johnson.
Ms Fowles meanwhile has currently been taking images of a number of Downing Street interview and has accompanied the PM to vaccination centres and schools.
She also takes pictures for other government work, though an online profile for her recommended she is an ‘MOD photographer for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’.
A 3rd promotional staffer, Simon Dawson, also began work recently on a wage of as much as ₤ 60,635 a year.
Mr Johnson is not the only one to have invested in in-house photography, with Rishi Sunak famed for utilizing staged and apparently candid snaps to improve his image.
Professional Photographer Simon Dawson who recently joined No10, has actually currently gone to work with Matt Hancock, showing the Health Secretary taking an active function in a meeting at the Department of Health before a Parliamentary announcement.
It is understood he will work to assist both Downing Street and the broader government ‘visually’, and has actually already taken photos of a No10 press instruction.
Has actually currently gone to deal with Matt Hancock, showing the Health Secretary taking an active function in a conference at the Department of Health before a Parliamentary statement.
An additional photo, taken by him, was published today of Larry, the Number 10 feline sitting on a sideboard underneath a picture of the Queen.
Mr Johnson is not the only one to have bought internal photography, with Rishi Sunak famed for utilizing staged and supposedly honest snaps to improve his image.
The Chancellor, called ‘Dishy Rishi’ for his great appearances, was seen striking a series of postures while browsing his Winter Economy Plan, from gazing out of the window deep in thought to leaning on a door frame to flick through his phone.
The gallery of images was released by the Treasury as part of a promotion drive to mark the unveiling of the strategy in September, that included a scheme to top up the pay of individuals who can only work part-time in ‘feasible jobs’.
Mr Sunak, at a reported 5ft 6in, is known for cultivating his brand name under the assistance of his adviser, the previous TV presenter Allegra Stratton, consisting of by marking Treasury media releases with his personal signature.
The increased use of utilized photographers has actually not gone undetected, and the Prime Minister has also dealt with accusations from independent professional photographers of being omitted from occasion organised by No10.
A Beacon of Hope: The UK Vaccine Story will be launched on a date to be verified