A multi-million pound Brexit information campaign which the Cabinet Office says reached 99.8% of the population had little effect on public preparedness according to a new report.
The ‘Get Ready for Brexit’ campaign was pulled just days before 31 October, with a Brexit extension granted.
The National Audit Office praised the Cabinet Office for getting government departments to work well together on the campaign, but said the numbers of people looking for information about Brexit did not notably change during the period of the campaign.
Gareth Davis of the NAO said;
At short notice, the Cabinet Office successfully corralled multiple government departments to work together effectively and launched this complex campaign at great speed.
“However, it is not clear that the campaign resulted in the public being significantly better prepared.”
Adverts were shown on screens and in print across the country for weeks, with the Cabinet Office estimating that every member of the public would have had the chance to see the adverts 55 times.
£46m was spent on the publicity project, with the message ‘Get Ready for Brexit’ and the website address gov.uk/brexit being included on the adverts.
The numbers of people looking for information about Brexit increased from 32% to just 37% during the campaign period, before falling to 34%.
The Cabinet Office said “Not undertaking the campaign would have risked significant and unnecessary disruption to businesses and to people’s lives” – however, many parties and politicians have dismissed the campaign as a waste of money and as a propaganda stunt.
Photo Credit: Cabinet Office (made available under the Open Government Licence v3.0)