Businesses give cautious welcome to new PM but marketers wonder what next

David Cameron’s appointment as the new Prime Minister through a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats has received a cautious welcome from business groups.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg
David Cameron and Nick Clegg

The Forum of Private Business says the “announcement will mark the start of a stable and functional administration, which is committed to ensuring economic recovery.”

Forum chief executive Phil Orford says: “There’s no doubt that the past week has been an anxious and worrying time for small business owners. Smaller firms urgently need some degree of certainty so they can begin to plan for the future.

“Hopefully, Mr Cameron’s appointment will herald the beginning of a workable government which will ensure economic stability and give smaller firms the confidence to aspire and grow.”

Cameron was appointed the new PM late last night, after Gordon Brown tendered his resignation to the Queen. He has begun appointing his first cabinet, with the Tories’ George Osborne as Chancellor, William Hague as Foreign Secretary, Liam Fox as Defence Secretary and Andrew Lansley as Health Secretary. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg becomes deputy PM.

Marketers will be awaiting the announcement of the new Culture and Media secretary, who will replace Labour’s Ben Bradshaw. Media firms like ITV will be keen for the new government to push for the Contract Rights Renewal (CRR) advertising sales rules to be scrapped, after the Competition Commission announced it had decided to keep them in place earlier this morning.

Details of the coalition deal between the Lib Dems and Conservatives have been speculative so far, with no mention of cutting the COI budget or scrutinising advertising yet.

Government departments will be bracing themselves for cuts to their marketing budgets as part of the new arrangements.

The economy is likely to be the government’s first priority for the new government.

Orford says: “I would just like to reiterate the Forum’s previous calls for politicians of all political persuasions to show responsibility and put aside their differences in order to avoid pushing the UK into further economic turmoil. It is imperative that our MPs put aside point-scoring and work together to make Britain a stable and prosperous place to run a business.”

Prior to the election, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats both vowed to slash Government spending on advertising and marketing to 1997 levels in real terms.

Despite agreement on the need to cut Government spending on marketing budgets, the Tories and Liberal Democrats do not see eye to eye on how to tackle irresponsible marketing to children.

The Tories favour setting up a website for parents to complain about “sexualised” products aimed at children, while the Liberal Democrats want to work more closely with existing regulatory bodies to ensure that children are protected.

In the past the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has taken issue with the Conservative’s proposal.

At the time, the body’s director general Hamish Pringle said: “Cameron’s idea of a “specially set-up website” would pull the rug out from under the ASA and is clearly ill-thought-out. We’re very concerned about his proposal that agencies that have had a complaint against one of their advertisements on the grounds of sexualisation should be banned from bidding for Government contracts for three years. This smacks of double jeopardy since the agency would already have been penalised by having its ad withdrawn by the ASA at considerable cost to them and their client.”

On 25 May, the Queen’s Speech is due to set out the government’s priorities during the parliament.



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