Christmas party cutbacks could be 'devastating'

The leaders of a campaign to boost Christmas party bookings have warned of "devastating" consequences for UK businesses if festive staff outings are cut back.

The 'Say Thank You at Christmas' campaign has attracted £8,000-worth of pledges from supporting firms. The money will go towards a PR campaign aiming to spark a debate in the national media about the motivational value of Christmas parties.

At a campaign meeting in London, Concerto Group chairman Mike Kershaw told more than 50 attendees: "It has been a pretty tough year for everyone in the industry. What we don't need now is a poor Christmas. A poor Christmas could be devastating to a very significant number of small and medium-sized businesses throughout the UK."

Responding to concerns that the campaign could provoke negative publicity, he said: "There's a misconception about Christmas parties. It's not about fat cats drinking champagne, it's about recognition and appreciation of workers. I'm not afraid of the debate."

The campaign will be fronted by Phil Orford, chief executive of the Forum of Private Business, which represents more than 22,000 SMEs across the country.

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