Social Marketing: Where do they stand?
With the general election looming in the UK – and public spending under increasing pressure, here’s a brief look at what (if anything!) the three main parties have said about their view of the future of social marketing.Both the Liberal Democrats as well as Labour make no mention of social marketing in their manifesto – or election material.
Labour has committed to make up to £20 billion worth of efficiency savings in the NHS between 2011 and 2014 – though has not said explicitly where these savings may be coming from. Labour has also committed to “sharply reducing spending on [government] consultancy and marketing” (1:3) – which may well hint at spending cuts for social marketing.
The Liberal Democrats are the only party not to commit to maintaining the NHS budget. However, although they are the only party to give a fairly clear breakdown of how they want to achieve a reduction in public spending, they don’t give any details of NHS related cuts either. Overall, the LibDem strategy seems more reactive then preventative from reading the manifesto – with the main commitment being that despite cuts they will protect front-line services. They also say that the Department of Health will be cut “in half”, and PCTs would be replaced by elected Local Health Boards. There are some clear public health points in the manifesto though, which include a commitment to regulate the sale of alcohol. But overall there is little detail about how this would affect social marketing (both in terms of health as well as other issues).
The most vocal about social marketing are probably the Conservatives: The party has clearly stated that it supports (and in fact wants to extend) the Change4Life campaign, and has already committed to being lead by the Public Health Commission, an independent think-tank with strong links to the party and overall very supportive of social marketing.
Overall, both Labour and the LibDems are rather silent on their vision for social marketing, while the Conservatives seem very favourable towards the role social marketing can play – at least in relation to health. Of course, social marketing per se is unlikely to be a major election topic, and therefore election material may therefore not really reflect the intentions of the parties. If you have any further information – please share them by commenting!