Industry backs Budget but warns of tough times ahead

Whitehall_London 2Advertising and marketing trade bodies have welcomed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s first Budget – including the £30bn package to tackle the effects of coronavirus – but have warned the industry faces a return to the bad old days of pre-Brexit uncertainty and the inevitability of slashed adspend.

IPA director general Paul Bainsfair said that understandably a key focus of the Budget is to financially manage the difficult to quantify impact of Covid-19 coronavirus on all areas of business and society.

He added: “Given we’re seeing the biggest threat to global finances for over a decade, it seems inevitable that UK marketing budgets will take a hit. We’ll begin to see the impact of this in next month’s Bellwether Report. Unfortunately, just as we were starting to see a recovery to budgets following the prolonged bout of uncertainty brought on by Brexit, we are propelled into far more extreme global uncertainty.

“From brand awareness to brand building, we know that advertising has enormous power to transform businesses, and can be especially powerful during a downturn. Anything that Government can therefore do to help secure businesses, so that we can help grow them and our own agencies, will be much needed.”

Advertising Association chief executive Stephen Woodford was slightly more upbeat, however. He said: “The Budget statement contains positive measures that should help our industry in both the short and long term. In the short term, the Chancellor’s framework of ‘temporary, timely and targeted’ support for businesses and workers, including those in the advertising industry, will assist firms and employees through the current challenges and period of uncertainty brought about by Covid-19.

“Looking at the longer term, this is clearly a budget designed to raise productivity and economic growth across the nations and regions. Advertising is a key driver of UK Plc, returning £6 for every £1 invested and supports economic growth in communities up and down the country. It is also a major export success and we are working as closely as possible with Government through this crucial period and into the future to ensure that advertising continues to be a successful and dynamic contributor to the UK’s success both at home and internationally.”

The DMA has yet to comment.

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