Collapsed UK economy needs desperate measures – but not as desperate as another lockdown

Prepare for another panicky round of policy measures: the UK economy shrunk by 20.4% in the second quarter after falling 2.2% in the first – so it’s an official recession, which won’t surprise anyone. Worse than any other G7 big economy.

At the same time the number of new daily Covid-19 infections in the UK has topped 1,000 for the first time in weeks, many among younger people. Which shouldn’t surprise anyone as we’re in the middle of the school and university holidays and a heatwave – so they’re all going to the beach or partying elsewhere.

A time for a cool and measured response then, although on past performance we’re unlikely to get one. There’ll be more medics saying we need to shut things down again including pubs and the like as schools prepare to re-open, while Rishi Sunak and his pals in the Treasury point out that the country, in effect, is running out of money.

A further lockdown might tip the economy over the edge into long-lasting depression and would hit young people, who make up the majority of people working in hospitality, hardest.

The only bright spot is that PM Boris Johnson is supposed to be on holiday somewhere in Scotland where he would be best advised to put a cold towel over his head and not just to keep away the midges.

Sometimes there just isn’t much you can do except, in this case, hope for a return to whatever is post-lockdown normality and that the weather breaks.

Its impact on adland? Of the trickle of new campaigns coming through many are frankly embarrassing as advertisers try to do it themselves armed with little more than reams of data. Creativity and technical ability are mostly absent.

That, at least, may mean that some advertisers re-think their approach and value companies that can make their communications work. With a further major lockdown on the cards even that may be a pious hope.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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