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£9.3m 'ad' campaign angers the Brexit side

By Joe Churcher

Published 07/04/2016

Informative’: Liz Truss
Informative’: Liz Truss

A £9.3m Government publicity drive to persuade people to vote to keep Britain in the EU has been attacked by Brexit campaigners as an "immoral, undemocratic" use of taxpayers' money.

Every household in the UK is to receive a leaflet setting out the case for a "remain" vote in the referendum - backed up by an online campaign including adverts on social media.

Downing Street said the move was a response to Government-commissioned polling which showed 85% of the public wanted it to supply more information to help them make an informed choice on June 23.

Environment Secretary Liz Truss said it was "crucial that the public have clear and accessible information".

But rivals pushing for a "leave" decision said it breached ministers' assurances that the Government would not seek to play a significant role in the campaign and unfairly skewed the debate.

The leaflet, entitled 'Why the Government believes that voting to remain in the European Union is the best decision for the UK', will arrive in Northern Ireland from the week after the May 5 elections.

The leaflet tells voters that leaving the EU would "reduce investment and cost jobs", could push up food prices and damage living standards.

There would be "no guarantees" that prices of flights to European destinations would not rise, mobile phone roaming charges not go up and access to free or cheaper healthcare on holiday not come to an end.

Tory MP Peter Bone, co-founder of the Grassroots Out campaign, said it was "immoral, undemocratic and against what the Government has promised".

Ukip leader Nigel Farage said it "is jammed full of lies and inaccuracies including the claim that we currently control our borders".

"We don't," he said. "It is outrageous to suggest otherwise."

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