Warning to organisers as Westminster connection is cut

Industry experts have warned that slashed public spending by the new Tory government could hit public sector events.

Simon Hughes, vice-chair of the Business Visits and Events Partnership, said that uncertainty over the UK’s place in Europe could hinder international business.

The industry lost its chief contact at Westminster, after Enfield candidate Nick de Bois, (pictured), chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Events, was unseated in his Enfield North constituency by his Labour rival.

Michael Hirst, chair of the BVEP said it was a great loss.


De Bois
fostered relationships between the events industry and government, and urged organisers to back BVEP’s manifesto for the UK meetings and events industry. He founded the Rapiergroup in 1990 and launched the first ever APPG inquiry into the events industry in 2013.

He said: “From his chairing of the All Party Parliamentary Group to the Inquiry he led into our international competitiveness, Nick has been a supporter in making sure that the prime minister, the Treasury, DCMS and UKTI are kept informed of everything we have tried to achieve for the industry. He is a great loss, but his legacy is one of a stronger, better represented and more respected UK Events Industry.”

Hughes said: “A stable continuity in government is good for business, and growth for SMEs will continue to be encouraged; a key part of the events industry. We will also see the continuation of the GREAT campaign, and its wider events remit in both tourism and exports, and most crucially the new Events Strategy from DCMS, that will deliver so much success for the country internationally.

“A Conservative government does mean a continuation of austerity and cuts in spending; this will inevitably hit the UK events industry and the income many organisers gain from local or national government related projects. We should also be wary about international business specifically European inbound events. We know that corporates do not like instability and any referendum on Europe will be an issue in keeping these events secure.

“However it is not all doom and gloom, this government has shown itself to be supporters of tourism, but also of business and their push for export plays into the new positioning of the Events Industry; one that the BVEP has worked so hard to establish. It is again for us to show how our industry can be a driver to both business growth and international travel that will dictate our future; in this we are well set.

“One of the amazing dynamics of the election has been the growth in SNP, Plaid Cymru and DUP parties, all of which did well, and with an exceptional performance from the SNP. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales all rely heavily on tourism so we hope that these regions will see more investment into business tourism as well.

“We also hope that as the new Tory Government turns to English issues, we will see more support for VisitEngland to both compete more within the UK, but to join forces with the other countries and present a strong Britain in front of international event organisers. This, twinned by this governments support for VisitBritain re entering business events should mean strong support in the winning of international events.”

Do you have a story for CN? Email: John Keenan

Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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