Government reveals plan to ramp up marketing for UK Export Finance in budget, with £2.8m promotional activity expected

It was good news for the marketing and cultural industry in today’s budget – and not just because tax on a pint is going down. Today’s budget announcement saw plans for two major marketing campaigns revealed, as well as announcing an increase in the cultural and media purse, from £1.1bn to £1.2bn for 2014-15.

With lack of export being a thorn in the side of the UK Government, it was announced that a marketing and communications campaign is to be created to raise awareness of UK Export Finance’s (UKEF) products and services and wider export finance.

While spend for the marketing campaign itself was not revealed, the budget stated that the government “will increase the resources available to promote financial services trade and investment by £2.8m in 2014-15”.

This came as the Advertising Association suggested that advertising could help close the export gap, saying that uncertainty over demand is the single biggest barrier to SMEs exporting, and insisting that raising UK SME exports in line with the EU average would add £40bn to our economy.

“A strong advertising sector is vital to a strong economy, but it could do much more, particularly for British exports," Ian Barber, communications director for the Advertising Association said. "The biggest barrier to SME exports is their uncertainty over demand – so while our industries should offer more support, Government and UKTI must prioritise those schemes that help companies identify and exploit overseas opportunity.”

The government will also expand the ‘Education is GREAT’ campaign to help attract more international students to the UK, and build on its reputation as a world-leading place to study, chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne stated.

It was also announced that over the next five years, the government will provide £42m for the Alan Turing Institute – this will be a national institute which will undertake new research in ways of collecting, organising and analysing Big Data.

This, the budget stated, will help “allow businesses to enhance their manufacturing processes, target their marketing better, and provide more efficient services”.

With the chief secretary to the Treasury saying this month that “There is now just one remaining major ingredient that needs to be added to make this recovery sustainable…business investment”, now is the time for advertisers to invest and innovate to foster further growth, ISBA believes.

Ian Twinn, director of public affairs at ISBA, the voice of the British advertisers, said of the budget: “Independent research shows that no matter what the new pound looks like, if it is invested in advertising six shiny new ones will be ploughed back into the economy. All the more reason to support responsible advertisers to do their job, thereby driving the economy further.”

News that the annual investment allowance has doubled to £500,000 was also welcomed by Twinn, who said: “We know that advertising is an underused tool for SMEs, but one which, if harnessed properly, could unlock massive growth for the UK. This allowance revision will encourage smaller businesses to invest in advertising and pursue greater growth.”

There was also good news for the technology sector in the budget, with Osborne announcing that the government will provide £106m over five years for around 20 additional Centres for Doctoral Training– partnerships between universities, businesses and government to research new technologies.

Meanwhile, Henieken UK marketing director Jacco Van Der Linden welcomed the news of a cut on the price if a pint of beer, and a freeze on cider and wine duty.

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