Industry vows to work with Labour to boost UK economy

Labour Starmer 2The advertising and marketing industry has welcomed the new Labour Government following last night’s landslide victory, and has reinforced the need for Sir Keir Starmer’s administration to champion the sector and help it to continue to thrive and drive the UK ecomony.

In a statement, client body ISBA said: “As the body that represents brand owners advertising in the UK, we look forward to working with the new Government – particularly the Department of Culture, Media & Sport – to help deliver Labour’s mission of kickstarting economic growth across all of the UK’s regions and nations.

“The UK’s system of self and co-regulation of advertising content and placement has proven to be a world-leading success story. We ask the Government to continue to support this. As a member of the Online Advertising Taskforce, we are committed to working with government on the Online Advertising Programme as it develops proposals for the future.

“As new Ministers take office, we urge the Government to pass the Secondary Legislation required to finish the introduction of new food and drink advertising regulations. Advertisers are desperate for clarity and certainty on what products, categories and media are in or out of scope of the new regulations.

“Many brands are already having to plan ad campaigns without the finalised rules and guidance they need. Passing the necessary Secondary Regulations would be an easy, pro-business and pro-growth step for this incoming government to take.”

Agency body The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising also said it was looking forward to working with new ministers to support and promote the value of advertising as a core part of the creative industries.

IPA director general Paul Bainsfair added: “We are pleased to welcome a new Labour Government and look forward to working with them to progress our mutual success.

“We very much hope that they will implement their comprehensive Creating Growth Plan for the Arts, Culture & Creative Industries, as delivered at their Labour Creatives Conference in March.”

Earlier this year, the IPA set out the policy areas that it would ask a new Government to focus on, and it said it was “pleased to note that a number of these align with Labour’s Plan”.

Bainsfair continued: “At the top of our list was ‘the need for an incoming government to champion our industry and help it to continue to thrive in order to help the UK’. And so we were delighted that, in Thangam Debbonaire’s (Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport at the time of the Plan’s publication) foreword she asserts that arts and culture have intrinsic value, stating that: ‘They and the creative industries as a whole, also have enormous economic value to the UK, and huge growth potential. Their story is already one of growth against the odds, with their value increasing by 5% in real terms between 2019 and 2022, compared with 2% growth in the overall economy’.

“With regard to talent, we have asked for better investment in education in the creative subjects, something the Labour Plan addresses directly: ‘In Government, Labour will urgently commission a full, expert-led review of curriculum and assessment that will seek to deliver a curriculum which is rich and broad, inclusive and innovative, and which develops children’s knowledge and skills. In doing so, we will consult widely across the creative sector to make sure we are drawing on all the relevant expertise.’

“Regarding international talent, we have said that we would like to see an incoming Government explore approaches that might level the playing field to ensure that the UK can attract and retain the best international talent and remain a dominant, international advertising force. This is something that Labour’s Plan rightly acknowledges: ‘Britain is a cultural crucible, and a world leader in the arts and creative industries. Labour is proud of that international position. We recognise that in order to maintain it, it needs to be easy to attract and retain the best talent for UK creative industries.’

“Leading on from this, Labour also stated that it intends to create a flexible Growth and Skills Levy to replace the existing Apprenticeship Levy. As we have stated previously, while we support apprenticeships, we have requested greater flexibility on how agencies can use the Levy and look forward to learning how Labour’s new reform may better suit our industry’s needs.

“Labour’s Plan states that it supports the safe development of the AI sector in the UK. As we said in May, the IPA believes a flexible, cautious approach to regulation is sensible, considering the fast pace of AI development and the need to allow for innovation and creativity. At the same time, we would also ask that Labour maintains international cooperation where possible to try to ensure consistency of approach.

“The IPA will continue to make the case for the highly successful and internationally renowned self and co-regulatory system, overseen by the ASA. If the UK’s advertising industry is to continue to thrive, it needs to be allowed to innovate without unnecessary legislative intervention.”

Finally, Advertising Association chief executive Stephen Woodford commented: “As we wait for the new Prime Minister to meet the King and ask permission to form the next government, we congratulate the Labour team on the election result.

“As one of the UK’s top growth industries and service exporters, we look forward to working with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet to help deliver sustainable growth across the UK’s nations and regions.

“UK advertising is big business, a £36bn powerhouse industry which is growing year on year, delivering investment and jobs up and down the UK – from Bristol to Manchester, Leeds to Edinburgh. In 2023, our services exports grew 15% to reach £18bn across key markets in Europe, Asia, and North America, highlighting our world leading creativity.

“Advertising plays an important societal role too. Recent examples of this include raising awareness of the need to register to vote, increasing vaccination uptake across hard-to-reach communities, raising awareness of mental health issues, encouraging behaviour changes around areas such as food waste reduction, and providing vital funding to culture, media and sport.

“As we enter a new political landscape, creating the conditions for responsible, sustainable business growth is the top priority. The UK needs to remain at the forefront of the data-driven economy. Regulatory certainty and support for the Advertising Standards Authority is key, as well as reforming education and skills policies to ensure our industry has the best creative and digital talent for our continued success and to grow jobs and investment.”

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