UK’s no-deal Brexit ad blitz did not leave Britain better prepared – watchdog


LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to launch one of the biggest advertising campaigns since World War Two to get Britain ready for a no-deal Brexit was largely ineffective, according to a report by the government’s spending watchdog.

FILE PHOTO: A Union flag flies next to the flag of the European Union in Westminster, London, Britain June 24, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville

The “Get Ready for Brexit” campaign stated that the United Kingdom would be leaving the EU on Oct. 31 last year and urged the public to visit a new website to check what they needed to do to prepare for a no-deal exit.

In the end, parliament voted to extend the exit date to the end of this month and Johnson went on to strike a divorce agreement with the bloc.

The government had allocated 100 million pounds for its Brexit preparation campaign with adverts running across television, radio, newspapers, online and on billboards. Roadshows and campaigns targeting specific groups, such as road hauliers were also held.

The National Audit Office found that the number of people who said that they had looked or started to look for information about what a no-deal Brexit would mean did not notably change during the campaign.

The percentage of people looking for information ranged between 32% to 37% percentage during the campaign. When the campaign ended the figure was 34%.

“It is not clear that the campaign resulted in the public being significantly better prepared,” said Gareth Davies, the head of the National Audit Office.

The government was criticised by lawmakers at the time who said it was a waste of money and misleading to continue running the advertising campaign after parliament ruled out Britain leaving the EU at the end of October.

At the point when the campaign ended 46 million pounds of the 100 million budget had been spent.

Britain will leave the EU on Friday, concluding years of debate about whether it is be better off outside the bloc, and beginning the process of redefining its economy, its national priorities and its place in the world.

Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Micahel Holden

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