Jane Frost, Chief Executive of Britain's MRS, has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak warning of the 'immediate and potentially catastrophic impact' of the Covid-19 crisis on the industry, and asking for further help in protecting it.
The letter, sent last Thursday, 19th March, describes MR as 'one of the few truly world leading sectors possessed by the UK' and cites its current GVA of more than £5bn, its contribution to exports (more than 1/3 of its total value), its 73,000 often highly-qualified full-time employees, its provision of vital social research and its vulnerability due to its often short-term, project-based nature.
The Society had advised its members to cease face-to-face work for reasons of health and public safety, before tonight's lockdown announcement from PM Boris Johnson. The letter suggests that the sector 'mirrors the entertainment/hospitality sector in its reliance on face to face working and the speed with which commissions can be turned off and work dries up almost overnight for some businesses'. However it says that unlike the entertainment and leisure industries, where demand can return rapidly, the MR sector is 'entirely dependent on the slower return of business confidence', with projects taking 'up to 3 months to re-commission'.
Frost concludes: 'Sir, our industry is the most successful market and social research sector in the world. We generate more per capita revenue than all other countries including the USA. The sector is the world leader in training and qualifications as well as publications... Now, more than ever, we need to understand all segments of British society to ensure that as a society we emerge well from this crisis. To do this, we need help to protect the research industry to continue to be the ear and voice of the nation'.
The letter in full can be found at www.mrs.org.uk/article/mrs/letter-to-the-rt-hon-rishi-sunak-mp-chancellor-of-the-exchequer .
All articles 2006-20 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.