When it comes to the Brexit debate, one of the topics under discussion is talent acquisition, which some event professionals feel will become more difficult if the UK leaves. "All venues rely on transient staff, particularly from the EU," said Will Poole, events and compliance manager at Troxy. "If quotas or limits were put on EU residents from entering the UK for work purposes, major cities such as London would have a smaller pool of staff to recruit from, meaning the likelihood of costs increasing and quality reducing is high."
But for Nick de Bois, chair of the new Business Visits & Events Board, the opposite is true: "The events sector is no different from other business sectors in that they can thrive outside the EU, which has fast become an uncompetitive trading bloc that does not suit the entrepreneurial spirit of Britain's businesses of the future." According to de Bois, most of London's 975,000 small and medium-sized firms say EU regulation makes it harder for them to hire.
However, Simon Hughes, vice-chair at the Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP), said the events industry will vote with its head, rather than its heart, for an outcome that would be progressive for the industry. "It's clear that we need to renegotiate with European bodies, but that doesn't necessarily mean we need to exit," he says. "I think it's a tough choice but if we stay in, we're probably in a better place to negotiate."
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