Budget news

The impact of the Budget on the
meetings industry is likely to include a cutback in civil service spend on
meetings, as the government has to come up with £24bn of further savings  if it
is to plug a shortfall in Treasury coffers.

The Treasury has admitted that only
£10.8bn of the £35bn savings target set in 2008-09 has been achieved in the
first two years, leaving £24bn outstanding for 2010-11. A further £20bn has been
earmarked for efficiency savings.

The meetings industry could feel
a disproportionate squeeze, with £650m to be cut from government’s use of
management consultants and marketing. £35m is to be cut from the Culture, Media
and Sport back office, for consultancy and marketing, the department where
business tourism currently resides.

Regional Development
Associations are to be ‘streamlined’ to the tune of £70m. Many convention centre
projects depend, to a large extent, on RDA support. Government quangos will lose
20 per cent of their staff and 120 of these bodies will be
merged.

Cuts in flight and IT budgets
for civil servants are also likely to be swingeing.

The silver lining is that regional
meetings venues and services may benefit from the 15,000 civil servants set to
be relocated from London over the next five years. There will be
a reliance more on online communications and conference calls, the Chancellor
said.

After recent regional Cabinet
meetings, a report by former chief executive of Reed Elsevier, Ian Smith, has
suggested some ministers and their private offices also move out to the regions,
with clusters of civil servants moving closer to other public
services.

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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