Labour argues for Government to roll out pandemic-focused national advertising campaign

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The Labour Party is putting pressure on the Government to enact a national advertising campaign to tell the public to stop panic buying goods. 

The opposition is arguing that not enough is being done to modify consumer behaviour, following reports that the Government passed over advertising opportunities on Facebook to share official messaging in this time of crisis.

£46 million was spent on a Brexit-readiness campaign.

Luke Pollard MP, Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, said: “Panic buying is causing real harm to vulnerable groups and creating anxiety amongst all. We need people to shop sensibly and that is why Labour has been calling for a new national advertising campaign from the Government".

People across the country have been ransacking supermarket shelves of toilet roll, pasta and hand sanitizer in recent weeks amid widespread panic from the coronavirus pandemic. 

When this happens, vulnerable groups and NHS staff are often left unable to purchase essentials such as baby milk, medicines and foods suitable for those with allergies.

Luke Pollard MP, Shadow Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary

Pollard added: “Ministers have not reacted fast enough or far enough, and that is why Labour is calling for a mobilisation of advertising and PR agencies to create new TV adverts, newspaper, digital and billboard advertising to take on panic buying. 

"Those who specialise in persuading us to buy products now have the opportunity to save lives with their work. Please step up and help. We need people to do the right thing at this time of national crisis: shop sensibly, stay at home and slow the spread of the virus.”
 
Labour is set to appeal to advertising agencies directly calling for the industry to design a campaign, on a pro bono basis, that will help shoppers see common sense when shopping.

The party is also asking that advertisers divert existing budgets toward support for coronavirus messaging.