The AA has written to the PM, Boris Johnson, and to the new Secretaries of State at DCMS, BEIS and DIT following the formation of the new Government at the end of July.
We have urged the new Government to negotiate a good deal on Brexit. Having arrangements that allow free flow of services across borders is critical for the continued success of our world-beating advertising industry. We need a flexible migration system that allows the UK to access the best global talent. We want advertising agencies and production crews to be able to travel easily to and from the UK and the EU. We want international broadcasters, media and tech companies to continue to find the UK attractive as a global hub because in turn this ensures the advertising industry will thrive.
The advertising industry in this country is a global leader and an export success story, with the largest trade surplus in advertising services in Europe. As part of our commitment to promoting exports of UK advertising services, we are planning to hold a month-long Exports Month event in March 2020, building on the success of our similar campaign this year, and we have asked the Department for International Trade to support this and get involved.
In his first speech as Prime Minister in the House, Boris Johnson said we must capitalise on the opportunities of leaving the EU and deregulate where we can to allow businesses to thrive. Yet the opposite is happening in terms of the Government’s obesity strategy and we have asked for a re-think on proposals for a pre-9 pm ban on high fat, salt, sugar food advertising.
While we fully support Government’s aim to reduce childhood obesity by 2030, current plans for onerous new advertising restrictions on high fat, salt, sugar (HFSS) food and soft drink advertising will fail to achieve this objective, and have severe adverse impacts for media revenues and the wider supply chain.
The Government’s own analysis shows that the proposed restrictions would only remove around 1.7 calories per day from children’s diets, even if they were to succeed, which the evidence does not actually support. There are a number of examples of industry supporting healthy lifestyle campaigns, from the Daily Mile which gets children more active by running or walking a mile a day, to Veg Power. It is our firm belief that working in partnership with industry gets better results, and on the obesity strategy, we urge a more collaborative approach.