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Coalition axes Central Office of Information, 400 jobs

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The coalition government is to close the Central Office of Information with the loss of 400 jobs.

The closure is part of government cuts which will see expenditure through the COI cut from £532m in 2009/2010 to nearer £168m in 2010/2011. Individual government departments have cut the number of press officers by about a quarter and should be cutting budgets by about a half.

Francis Maude said the closure would save money and reduce duplication.

As with many coalition cuts underneath the headline-grabbing cuts announcment some functions will simply move to other departments.

Central advertising procurement will now be done through a unit led by Government Procurement, an Executive Director will be appointed and a Communications Delivery Board will be set up.

A programme of reviews will look at improving communications capability across departments. This will include considering "a shared communications delivery pool for certain specialist services; and for a small number of specialist marketing hubs."

The BBC reports 400 jobs will go, mostly in London.

Maude's full statement is here.

The COI was set up in 1946. It created public information films like "Coughs and Sneezes spread diseases" and the "Charley Says" films featuring the creepy cat. More on COI films here. ®

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