Industry calls for ‘steady hand’ as Sunak enters No 10

sunakJust two months – and an ensuing disastrous economic meltdown – after welcoming Liz Truss as the second UK Prime Minister this year, marketing and business leaders are hoping it will be third time lucky with the appointment of Rishi Sunak to Number 10.

One of the key decisions that marketers will be looking for is how the incoming Prime Minister deals with the Data Protection & Digital Information Bill 2022-23, which Truss’ short-lived administration put on hold, amid plans for yet another rewrite announced by Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan – an arch Sunak supporter.

During the summer’s Conservative leadership contest, Sunak pledged to make data reforms one of his key priorities. At the time he said: “The Government would remove the burdens of GDPR and put in its place the most dynamic data protection regime in the world.

“The EU’s Byzantine rules are preventing British tech companies from innovating and public services from sharing data to prevent crime. As any Internet user can see, GDPR – with all its bureaucratic box-ticking – is clearly not working and needs to be replaced.”

Even so, the Advertising Association was keen to concentrate on other matters. Director of public affairs Sue Eustace commented: “We would like to congratulate Rishi Sunak on his succession as prime minister and look forward to working with him and his team in due course.

“We are entering a period of economic uncertainty, and recent events have shown that the cost of living and the impact of interest rates are still very much at the forefront of the challenges we face.

“We are keen to learn more about the Government’s plans to stabilise market conditions to set the ground for future growth of the advertising and marketing sector, with its creativity, dynamism and export success.

“However, we do need to work with the Government to address immediate and long-term issues affecting our sector. If we can get the right policies, we can unlock those barriers to fulfill that potential and do our part to get the UK back on a path of sustainable and green growth.

IPA director general Paul Bainsfair is also keen for Sunak to make amends. He added: “We hope that this brings to an end the political turmoil that has caused so much damage to the country and that Rishi Sunak will be able to provide the financial acumen, clarity, certainty and confidence that we are seeking from the Government.

“Firm foundations allow our agencies to make more solid, longer-term plans to build and grow their businesses and those of their clients. On top of that, we are of course still keen to engage with the Government further on the significant issues affecting our industry, including HFSS regulation, the Online Advertising Programme and the privatisation plans for Channel 4.”

Meanwhile, British Chambers of Commerce director general Shevaun Haviland said Sunak must be a “steady hand on the tiller to see the economy through the challenging conditions ahead”.

She added: “The political and economic uncertainty of the past few months has been hugely damaging to British business confidence and must now come to an end.

“This means setting out fully costed plans to deal with the big issues facing businesses; soaring energy bills, labour shortages, spiralling inflation, and climbing interest rates.”

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