Tuesday 12 November 2019 1:59 pm

Sir Martin Sorrell: Post-Brexit economy should be ‘Singapore on steroids’

Advertising veteran Sir Martin Sorrell has called on the government to pursue a “Singapore on steroids” strategy for the UK economy after Brexit.

The former WPP boss, who now runs digital ad firm S4 Capital, said the UK should seek to establish a free-market, pro-business economy similar to that of the Asian financial hub.

Read more: Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital boosts revenue and profit

“I look for a Singapore on steroids. I look for a regulation-light, tax-light UK economy open for business in a way we haven’t seen before,” Sorrell said in an interview with Bloomberg.

“It has to be the home of Google, Amazon and Facebook, not the regulatory nightmare,” he added.

Sorrell, who was a vocal supporter of the Remain campaign, said that such an approach would make the UK a “much more attractive” investment destination in the long term.

“Once Brexit is out of the way, I think there will be reinvestment,” he said, though he warned that it could take up to 10 years to see the benefits.

“This is not a short term process. It’s a very big shift that’s needed and it’s going to take a long time to get it right, so slow but steady will be the orders of the day.”

The ad boss said the key for the UK economy was to alter its trading pattern and reduce its reliance on Europe.

But while Sorrell admitted there had been uncertainty since the referendum, he insisted that the UK advertising sector had proved resilient.

“In the last three years I think people have cut their plans for fixed capital investment and have invested in variable marketing spend in the theory that they’ll maintain or increase market share,” he said. “So actually, spending in advertising and marketing services hasn’t been bad.”

Read more: Sorrell’s S4 Capital beefs up analytics division with double acquisition

The latest industry figures, published last month, showed UK advertising spend hit £6bn in the second quarter, up 5.8 per cent year on year. However, spend remained flat from the first three months of the year.

Trade body the Advertising Association, which has rallied against the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, last month called for an end to uncertainty after a further delay to the deadline.

Main image credit: Getty