Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, October 31, that England would return to lockdown from November 5, 2020 due to the recent rise in cases of Covid-19. Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive of the Advertising Association, commented:
“The surprise news of the lockdown U-turn comes at the most critical point in the biggest quarter of the year for advertisers, agencies, media owners and tech companies and at a time when we had already downgraded our forecasts for Q4 2020 and for 2021. This latest development will have an adverse impact on the vital Christmas trading period and our industry must rapidly adapt and flex once again to protect businesses, jobs and the wider economy. The sooner the lockdown can be reasonably lifted, the better and, in the meantime, business need more clarity in order to plan.
“We urge the Government to set out the clearest possible direction of travel over the coming months in order for jobs to be protected and for the economy to function as best it can whilst limits are placed on it due to the public health challenges we all face. To support this planning, we need Government to rapidly invest in the professional skills needed across our industry, to back our industry’s ability to power economic growth through an advertising tax credit, and to ensure we have a trade deal with the EU in the short time that remains in the Brexit negotiations. We also need Government to recognise that any further interventions on our industry, such as the consultation on HFSS advertising, must be based purely on evidence and avoid any wanton economic damage.”