Boris Johnson plans to spend £100m on a print and television advertising campaign in the lead up to the October Brexit deadline.
In an effort to improve the country’s morale as it edges towards a no-deal exit from the European Union on 31 October, the government will spend £100m on advertising on top of nearly £2bn the government has already spent on no deal preparations. Describing the campaign to the Telegraph, one government source said: “I can’t imagine there has been a bigger comms campaign than this since the War. It is a pretty huge thing for a comms campaign.”
Printing and distributing leaflets may appear out-dated in the digital age, but the format has consistently been found to increase political engagement and voter turnout. And as digital firms like HelloPrint UK and others have pushed down the cost of printing in recent years, leaflets remain one of the most cost effective ways for political leaders to get information to the public.
Johnson’s leaflet will be designed to assuage the public’s fears about a no-deal Brexit, with one Number 10 insider telling The Sun: “He believes there is nothing to fear from leaving without a deal — but it would be nothing short of folly if we failed to keep the public fully informed.”
The prime minister may have been able to convince two-thirds of the Conservative party that his optimism and zeal can make Brexit a success, but that the government feels it necessary to spend such large sums on advertising shows that they know the rest of the country is less convinced. Experts continue to warn that leaving the EU without a deal could result food shortages, problems for the NHS’ medicine supply chains, and travel chaos. Business leaders also caution that a no-deal exit would be disastrous for UK companies, with the CBI saying leaving with a deal is essential to protect the economy and jobs on both sides of the Channel.
The pound plummeted to a 28-month low on Monday after Michael Gove, who is in charge of planning for no-deal, said the UK government is currently “working on the assumption” that no-deal is the most likely outcome in an article published in The Times. He said the government still aimed for an agreement with the EU, but “No deal is now a very real prospect.”
Analysts warn Sterling could yet fall further as traders appear to have been betting on a last-minute deal being reached between London and Brussels.