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Scotland and promotional marketing

What does a ‘Yes’ vote mean for the UK promotional marketing industry?

On 18th September, Scottish residents will go to the polls and make one of the most important decisions of their lives – whether ‘Scotland should be an independent country’. 

If more than 50% of those who vote say Yes, Scotland will become an independent country, perhaps as early as March 2016.

What will this mean for promotional marketers? 

To begin with, not a lot. Any UK laws that are in place immediately before independence will remain in force after independence, until and unless they are changed. 

After independence, decisions on new laws will be made by the Parliament and Government of an independent Scotland.

Unless and until an independent Scottish Government decides otherwise, Scottish consumers will continue to have the same rights as they currently do under UK law, and there will continue to be organisations that offer consumers help and advice when they need it. 

It is understood that if the vote is Yes, then the functions of the Scottish Information Commissioner will be extended into the areas currently dealt with by the UK information Commissioner, including data protection. 

In the UK, data protection and a number of other areas are currently in line with European Union directives: it is likely that an independent Scotland would mirror EU law in these areas as it negotiates for entry into the union.

It is also worth noting that in certain areas – such as alcohol marketing – Scotland’s laws are already different to and much stricter than the laws which apply in England and Wales. For example, there are restrictions on various promotional techniques such as multibuys. 

What’s more, the current Scottish Government has already tried to restrict promotions for High Fat Salt Sugar (HFSS) food and drink products; those attempts will probably continue, whether the country becomes independent or not. 

If Scotland does vote Yes, we’ll need to ensure that our promotions are opened up not just to the ‘UK’ or the UK and the Republic of Ireland, but Scotland as well.

Rest assured the IPM’s Legal & Compliance Team will be closely monitoring the latest news on any legal changes that will affect our industry.   

To talk to our Legal & Compliance Team about a promotion you are running which you think may be affected by a Yes vote, contact Hina Gohil on 020 7291 7741 or email hinag@theipm.org.uk