Tuesday 27 August 2019 4:15 pm

Home Office ad for EU citizens banned for being 'misleading'

A Home Office advert telling EU citizens how to remain in the UK after Brexit has been banned by the independent watchdog for being “misleading”.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has told the government it must not broadcast a radio advert regarding the EU Settlement Scheme, which originally aired in April this year, saying it was not “sufficiently clear” what was required.

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The advert stated “all you need to apply is your passport or ID card and to complete an
online form”.

In its official ruling, due to be published tomorrow, the ASA will say that while it recognised that this referred to the initial application, the authority felt some listeners might believe it related to the entire process of applying for EU settled status.

“While we acknowledged that applicants were not required specifically to submit “proof of address” (as referenced by the complainant), some were required to submit further documents beyond those stated in the ad,” the ASA’s ruling will say. “We considered that the actual proportion who were asked to submit further documents was likely to go beyond what the audience was likely to understand from the claim.

“In that context, we considered that the ad did not make sufficiently clear that, in some cases,
applicants would need to supply documents beyond their passport or ID card.”

The Home Office argued that the ad was part of a wider marketing campaign, and urged listeners to visit the website, which carried more details. According to their surveys, 92 per cent “found the information very helpful or fairly helpful,” it added.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We completely disagree with ASA’s decision because the campaign was factual and complied with all necessary clearance processes for radio advertising. 

“The campaign has had a positive impact and encouraged more than one million successful applications so far.

“The Scheme is free, straightforward and EU citizens and their family members have plenty of time to apply. All they need to apply is their passport or ID card and to complete an online form.”

Main image: Getty