Events industry waits for guillotine to fall on public spending

The events industry is anticipating reverberations through the business community as Chancellor George Osborne prepares to unveil details of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

George Osborne to reveal spending review
George Osborne to reveal spending review

Chancellor George Osborne is set to announce at least £35bn of cuts in his speech, which begins at 12.30pm today.

COI job cuts

Up to 500,000 public sector jobs are already earmarked for the axe, including a total of 287 jobs at COI, where head of events Simon Hughes runs a division of 16 staff.

Hughes had told C&IT earlier this year that the value of events being put through the roster was 'uncertain'.

Tightened belts

P&MM Events & Communications director of events Chris Clarke explained: "Like most businesses, we are concerned with how the spending review might affect us going forward, simply because many private firms, our clients, are suppliers one way or another to government departments."

He added that while very few of P&MM’s clients are in the public sector, the whole supply chain would still need to tighten its belt and search for even more ways to demonstrate ROI. 

Massive deficit

Cresecndo director Russell Allen agreed: "People would be naïve if they don’t consider the impacts on the wider business community. There is a massive deficit and a lot of jobs that need to go."

Allen said that perception of events would continue to be a major concern, and he planned to be very "prudent" over the next year.

"On hold"

BSI was appointed to the Government’s Buying Solutions procurement framework in September for the first time and director of business development Paul Hussey said he anticipated the spend would "definitely reduce".

"Our proposition has always been about getting best value for money so we hope that will help public sector organiations maximise their plans and budgets," said Hussey. "Things have been on hold until BSI and public sector clients have seen what is coming through in the review, but there will still need to be some activity."

Period of inertia

Expotel is also on the Buying Solutions roster and has worked with Government departments including Defra and the Department for Work and Pensions and chief executive Ian Burnley said there had already been a reduction in the volume of business being placed.

"There may be some further impact but cuts have already been rationalised in the industry over the past six months," he added.

However, he said there had been a "period of inertia" as departments waited for today’s review, and that could mean a slight recovery as the uncertainty cleared.

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