"Bitter disappointment" at Visit Britain cuts recognised by Lib Dems

Liberal Democrat co-chair of the DCMS parliamentary committee Don Foster has pledged his support for the business events sector amid 34% cuts to Visit Britain's budget.

Don Foster MP says Visit Britain cuts were a tough decision
Don Foster MP says Visit Britain cuts were a tough decision

Visit Britain yesterday (20 October) learned its budget would be cut from £28.8m this year to £21.2m in 2014/15 as part of the comprehensive spending review. 

Meanwhile, events sector figures including Excel chief executive Kevin Murphy, ISES UK president Richard Foulkes and MPI UK chapter president Fiona Pelham joined 43 MPs at a Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) reception at the House of Commons.

 Former shadow secretary of state for culture Don Foster told guests, including Visit Britain’s Simon Mills and Joss Croft: "Each and every one of you is bitterly disappointed that within the comprehensive spending review there has been a cut to the budget of Visit Britain. No one in the coalition is pleased with that."

Chancellor George Osborne announced major departments would all lose a third of their budgets as part of the spending review.

BVEP chairman Michael Hirst urged a total of 150 delegates including 43 MPs to continue to support the meetings and events industry during the reception, sponsored by International Confex.

Hirst presented the body’s meetings and events manifesto and said: "Conferences, exhibitions and trade fairs enrich the economy."

He highlighted BVEP’s latest report, out this week, which reveals the business events industry is worth £36bn to the UK economy each year.

The event formed part of this week’s Britain for Events 2010 campaign and the BVEP’s 10th anniversary. 

Foster added the cuts to Visit Britain’s budget had been a "very difficult decision".

However, he added that his colleague Vince Cable, secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, was working within his department to find ways to help the industry.

See photos from the BVEP House of Commons event here.

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