From the perspective of the UK events industry, Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn statement was “a mixed bag”, according to Michael Hirst, OBE, Chairman of the Business Visits and Events Partnership.
“With public sector spending continuing to be squeezed, this sector previously a major user of conference and meeting facilities will continue to have reduced budgets for events,” said Hirst.
“However there was some support for emerging sectors of the economy and extra money for the knowledge economy, scientific research and infrastructure. These sectors are substantial users of events and exhibitions and there could be added business from them.”
In terms of public events, Hirst believes there will be a trade-off as consumer spending once again is hit, however, the prospect of more domestic holiday taking and day trips could see an upturn in attendances at cultural, music and festival events.
“The autumn statement,” said Hirst, “pointed the way to more support for small and medium size enterprises, many of which make up the service providers to the events industry.”
Hirst also hailed measures to improve investment in transport infrastructure and regional growth as having “the potential to make business event destinations more accessible by road, rail and air transport”.
And Hirst was also four-square behind Chancellor Osborne in believing announcements regarding the outcomes of government consultations on Health and Safety regulations and improved planning process should help event business become more productive.
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