The Government has paused its £100m ‘Get Ready For Brexit’ campaign, which is now under review.
The decision was made after the Prime Minister accepted the European Union’s (EU) offer of a Brexit extension until 31 January 2020, which was agreed yesterday (28 October).
The campaign – which guided UK citizens on how to get ready for the 31 October leave date – has now been paused, given the leave date is no longer applicable.
The Cabinet Office has confirmed that the campaign will now be reviewed and information on GOV.UK will continue to be updated. Despite the break, it said many of the actions that the campaign encourages businesses and citizens to take need to be completed, regardless of whether the UK leaves with or without a deal.
The 31 October leaving date has been at the receiving end of scrutiny from those less in favour of the £100m campaign. Critics claimed the campaign was misleading, because although the Government threatened that the UK would leave the EU on 31 October, with or without a deal, leaving without a deal was highly unlikely.
Last week, the Cabinet Office denied that it had pulled its controversial campaign after reports in the national press claimed otherwise.
Doubts over the effectiveness of the campaign were highlighted last week, when the National Audit Office (NAO) published a report determined that the campaign could ultimately fall flat with audiences amid growing uncertainty of a political timeline for Brexit.
Modifications to the campaign began last week when the Government changed the wording of the campaign on the website. Instead of saying ‘UK is due to leave on 31 October’ the website changed to ‘we could still leave with no deal on 31 October’ downplaying the hard deadline it had set for itself.
And, despite receiving over 100 complaints, the ASA has thus far decided not to take action. It argued that because the campaign intends to get people ready for Brexit – in terms of travel and business, it said “the actual date is not, at this time, likely to mislead the general public about the plans the ads encourage them to make in order to prepare for Brexit.