Public Affairs: Soap Box - Iain Anderson, director and chief corporate counsel, Cicero Consulting

As the age of austerity bites harder than ever following last week's autumn statement, public affairs must continue to seek out new opportunities.

At first sight,the statement appeared rather doom-laden. Further cutbacks in public expenditure and significantly lower economic projections are creating a very sombre public mood. But for those involved in public policy, this writing has been on the wall since 2008.

The Chancellor's measures may prove to be the defining moment in this Parliament. Quickly followed by the public sector unions strike, the political mood is more polarised than we have seen in a generation. But polarisation creates new opportunities for policymakers - and our sector.

George Osborne has fired the gun on a multi-billion-pound infrastructure investment programme designed to fire up investment in transport, health and education - financed by UK pension funds and by attracting foreign direct investment in the UK.

I am told officials across Whitehall are all brushing up on their Mandarin - and so should public affairs professionals.

This new age also points to the need to operate on a global basis. No longer can UK public affairs focus primarily on the domestic agenda. For those that do will miss out on the opportunities and the wider context of debate. The eurozone crisis is the best example of that.

Back to polarisation - or at least the climate change agenda. The Autumn Statement marked a continued shift away from the Cameroon agenda set out for the past six years.

The environmental lobby - both the third sector and those who are keen to make the UK the centre for green technology - clearly now have a fight on their hands.

Perhaps it is time for some new alliances to grow? A time for some new opportunities for all of us.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

Top PRs to gather in Barcelona for inaugural PRWeek Global Congress

Top PRs to gather in Barcelona for inaugural PRWeek Global Congress

Senior executives from IBM, Nestlé, Vedanta, GE, Cargill, Philips and Allianz will be among the speakers at PRWeek's first Global Congress.

The latest social media fail case study: #myNYPD

The latest social media fail case study: #myNYPD

The New York Police Department's Twitter fail offers another social media lesson for organisations.

Edelman US chief Mark Hass steps down

Former top lobbyist and H&K CEO Robert Gray passes away at 92

Former top lobbyist and H&K CEO Robert Gray passes away at 92

Robert Gray, an influential Washington, DC, lobbyist and former chairman and CEO of Hill & Knowlton, passed away last Friday. He was 92.

Max Clifford trial jury to reconvene tomorrow after majority verdicts direction

Max Clifford trial jury to reconvene tomorrow after majority verdicts direction

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford on 11 charges of indecent assault has been sent home for the day after being told by the judge earlier this afternoon that he will now accept majority verdicts.