It has been described by the chancellor as the 'budget for savers' but what does George Osborne's budget mean for Britain's brands and the marcomms industry that serves them?
We asked a cross-section of marketers and agency figureheads how they thought the budget would affect their business and the industry at large.
Paul O’Donnell, chairman, Ogilvy & Mather UK
Clearly this is a 'steady as she goes' approach with no real dramatic revelations. This is not a bad thing given previous pyrotechnics have backfired badly. When the new £1 coin is the biggest talking point you know it was a quiet day. I can see very few significant implications for the advertising industry per se but from a business point of view, the HtB (Help to Buy) extension, increasing capital investment allocations and increased funding for exports are all good for the broader business outlook. Although given the size of the UK economy are all relatively small in likely impact. The support for savings and pensions and working parents childcare costs are also welcome, as is the avoidance of any further attack on tax relief for higher income individuals. Support for large energy consumers is also probably a good thing. Meanwhile, the micro tinkering with beer, bingo, fuel and so on will clearly help some industries, and will be popular with some, but for me is just the kind of politics that he [George Osborne] can never resist.
Ben Dansie, CEO and co-founder, Omobono
Most interesting for companies like us, who work in the technology end of the marketing industry, is the move to set up the Alan Turing Institute, honouring the extraordinary work of the Second World War code breaker Alan Turing. The new Turing Institute will bring a focus to the UK’s leading global position on developing new applications that take advantage of the vast amounts of big data now routinely collected and stored. “This is central to the B2B marketing work we do for major UK and global corporates. We use big data extensively to both serve data to social media networks and to provide market analysis for clients. Bringing attention to the expertise here in the UK will be hugely advantageous. We work with companies in many countries – but the opportunity to have a focus and bring more of the work to the UK will bring innovation.
Felix Hall, managing director, 23red
Our clients span business and public sector health, and there’s something in the Budget for both. It’s good to see both housing being addressed as well as the regeneration in Ebbsfleet and its transport infrastructure followed through. That’s one of the reasons our client Bluewater located there and they fully deserve the good things the new development will bring. Meanwhile, increasing tobacco duty (with a commitment that goes further than this administration) means stronger financial levers to work alongside and reinforce the Stoptober and January quit campaigns we work on with PHE to encourage and support quitting.
Victoria Fox, managing director, LIDA
At LIDA we’re delighted to hear about the increase in childcare subsidy for working parents. Millions of families will benefit from a more generous childcare subsidy and parents who pay 80 per cent of childcare costs up to £10,000 per child to a registered provider, will get the remaining 20 per cent free. It is a great incentive to encourage mothers back into work post children as sometimes with the extortionate childcare costs in this country it is actually more economical to stay at home. In our industry this means we can lose a lot of talent. We try very hard at LIDA to support female talent once they have had children by supporting flexible working and offering a supportive environment for parents in our organisation.
Russ Lidstone, CEO, Havas Worldwide London
In many ways this is what we could have predicted for a pre-election Conservative budget, with the biggest beneficiaries looking like savers and older people. The key areas of focus - some help for businesses to invest and export; and reforms of the tax system to benefit savers. In some senses it feels like a strange budget given the emphasis on pound coins and pension reforms, with little attention given to youth unemployment and growing inequality. There is very little by way of helping those struggling to keep pace with the rising cost of everyday essentials such as food and fuel.
Martha Greene, founder and CEO, PointBlank Productions
George Osborne has stated he wants business to make more business here. I believe he needs to help us make that happen, and with this budget he has not done that. The UK Creative services industry is currently worth 71.4 billion - but it could be a lot higher*. Even though we are a World Class country in terms of advertising and a centre of excellence in creativity – it is prohibitively expensive to shoot here. We need real incentives, in the form of tax rebates, to encourage the talent and the budget to stay here. Currently much of the advertising and production business – and budgets – go overseas to countries or regions like South Africa and Eastern Europe. The US already offers very attractive tax rebates for film and advertising businesses across the States. I believe it could really work in the UK and is a tangible way of making an already successful sector even stronger. *Jan 2014 Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Gov. UK
Mike Welsh, CEO, Publicis Chemistry
The entire budget announcement is the pre-cursor to the next budget, which will be the last budget before the next Election. With that context, it’s very much about positive predictions, good news and showing how the government have delivered against all targets (something which Labour never achieved). A growing economy (with a sustainable forecast growth for the next 5 years) will drive consumer spending and certain sectors will be particular beneficiaries – for example the housing market with the extension of the 'Help to Buy' scheme to 2020.
Cameron Day, director of business development, The Marketing Store London
Is there a general election looming? Certainly feels like it with today's budget. The good news for advertising and marketing is of course the cautious optimism around the continued growth in GDP. We are seeing cautious client's businesses starting to increase marketing spend but with much more emphasis on understanding the ROI of any investment and how it relates to building the brand value. The second encouraging point is the increased support the Government is giving to UK businesses in direct lending. We are all starting to really benefit from the upsurge in creative, technology and entrepreneurial energy that is beginning to really drive the UK forward and this will help secure and build on that.
John Atmore, planning director, Arc London (Leo Burnett Group)
A very conservative budget from the Chancellor today will have no effect at all on the shopper in the High St. Still smarting from the recession, having already cut their spending on food and other discretionary items, there is nothing here to put more money in their pockets and nothing to wean them off their cautious and discount-minded shopping focus.