APPG inquiry into events gets mixed response

All Party Parliamentary Group for Events (APPG) chairman MP Nick de Bois has insisted the launch of a inquiry into how government can better support events will differ from previous efforts, despite a mixed industry reaction.

APPG chairman Nick de Bois
APPG chairman Nick de Bois

Kevin Jackson, George P Johnson's executive director of business development, compared the initiative to the Leveson Inquiry, whose recommendations have been largely dismissed by Number 10. "It will go on for a while, with lists and statistics provided, and everyone will get very excited," he said. "And then nothing will happen."

However, others welcomed the launch, including TFI managing director Simon Maier. "The fact that it is being done is good," he said, but added that the inquiry must be conducted "holistically", recognising the industry's diversity.

The industry's concern is whether or not the inquiry will lead to change. After all, the notion of campaigning for governmental support is hardly new: the APPG was formed in March 2011 specifically to lobby government and the likes of Britain for Events are continuously campaigning, both independently and in partnership with the APPG.

But speaking to C&IT, de Bois insisted that the inquiry would differ from previous efforts. "It's evidence-based - it's not about lobbying," he said.

Simon Hughes, Eventia chairman agreed, adding: "The desire to create an evidence-based review of the sector is long overdue. One of the problems with our industry is the breadth and depth of activity that it covers."

The APPG will select a panel of MPs and industry figures to preside over the inquiry.

"We want written evidence, which we'll analyse and test in the inquiry," says de Bois.

Collated evidence will be released and discussed at International Confex in March, before being presented in the House of Commons for debate.

High on the agenda will be the UK's competitiveness in the market for international conferences. De Bois said that the UK often competes on a "level that sometimes puts us at a disadvantage".

WHAT THE TWEETERS ARE SAYING...

@Britain4Events

Thanks @CITmagazine for reporting parliamentary inquiry with @nickdebois. This is about creating change for UK events

@RandleLondon

Re NdB promoting benefit of events to UK plc. Let's crowdsource organisation/contact examples via @CITmagazine

@SmyleCreative

@CITmagazine It's needed! nick de bois must engage with full cross section of industry so review has real relevance to future shape.

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