It’s unlikely that 38Degrees will be organising flashmobs to protest about the cutting of marketing and consultancy budgets in the public sector. There won’t be a harrowing Boys From the Blackstuff sequel showing the impact of unemployment on the PR consultant communities of north London. Newsnight’s package last night about the potential impact of cuts to services in Sheffield has already been called “lefty bollocks” by one esteemed Tory blogger, so I’m not holding my breath waiting for an outraged backlash from the commentariat either. But, other than the Guardian (inevitably), no-one much seems to have noticed that cutting the government comms budget is going to have a hefty impact on the private sector too. Lots of small consultancies mixed public sector with private sector work. It helped them to stay in business so that they could employ their own staff and sub-contract printers, designers, writers and event management companies. It paid for ad space in print and on TV, direct mail, web development , exhibition stands and a multitude of other things. The money got spread around and (whisper it) a lot of the campaigns it paid for did a lot of good.
It’s not that I didn’t expect cuts to comms – an obvious target if ever there was one, and much more sobering cuts were also made yesterday. I’m just concerned about what happens when you take £270m worth of business out of an industry containing a large number of SMEs that’s just coming out of a recession.