When public speaking makes an impact - our Budget reaction


Our Editorial Director Ellen Widdup responds to the Budget


Rishi Sunak has clearly done his homework when it comes to how to make an impact with public speaking.

His version of Obama's "yes we can" is still ringing in my ears as the Chancellor wraps up his Spring Statement with a Budget that was primarily centered on tackling the impact of coronavirus.

"We get it done," he said on repeat as he delivered promised to provide a "temporary, timely and targeted" response which would be "coherent, coordinated and comprehensive".

If you read our last blog you would know we relish the power of a three-part list. It instills confidence. It provides an emphasis. It helps people understand and digest.

Thanks to our expertise in crisis PR we also know the power of tackling a problem head on - with decisive action that will reassure.

After all, it's all very well promising "we get it done" - but Sunak's speech was also choc-a-block with clear communication on how this will happen.

"We are doing everything we can to keep this country and our people healthy and financially secure,” he said.

And this includes:

  • a three-part plan to deal with the economic impact of the coronvarius outbreak, costing a total of £30bn
  • The NHS getting "whatever extra resources" it needs to cope with extra demand during the coronavirus, thanks to a £5bn emergency response fund
  • Statutory sick pay provision for anyone who is advised to self-isolate
  • Government refunds to smaller businesses for any sick pay for up to 14 days. That will apply to businesses employees with less than 250 employees at a cost of up to £2bn
  • Banks offering loans of up to £1.2m to small businesses and the government covering losses for up to 80% of the loans
  • Business rates being abolished altogether for smaller firms in retail, lesiure and hospitality - a tax cut worth up to £1bn 

This is a huge emergency package to be announcing in a Budget, signalling the government is taking the threat of the coronavirus to the economy extremely seriously. 

What's more, from a PR point of view, it has hit the nail on the head. 

A year ago, no one had heard of the coronavirus, supermarkets had ample supplies of toilet paper and Rishi Sunak was a mere parliamentary undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Now Twitter seems to think he could be a future PM.

That's the power of good public speaking and understanding that, in the event of a crisis, clear, concise communication that is solutions-driven is key.


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