The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, delivered the Autumn Budget to the House of Commons on Wednesday 22 November 2017.
In his speech, Hammond said the UK economy continues to grow, but it is predicted to expand at a slow pace.”Regrettably, our productivity performance continues to disappoint,” he said.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has assumed at each of the last 16 fiscal events that productivity growth would return to its pre-crisis trend of about 2% a year, but it has remained stubbornly flat.
The forecast pointed out that GDP would grow 1.5% in 2017, 1.4% in 2018, 1.3% in both 2019 and 2020, before picking back up to 1.5%, and finally 1.6% in 2022. Inflation is up 3% but the outlook is to fall back to a target of 2% over the next year.
Events industry speaks up
The Autumn Budget had considerations and stimulus for important sectors of the UK economy, including Brexit, housing market, education, NHS, transport and taxation, to name but a few. Notably, Hammond has reported that £3bn will be delivered for Brexit preparations over the next two years in addition to the £700m already spent.
What are the implications of the budget for the events industry?
Whereas Media 10 welcomed the budget with neutrality in terms of how it affects the business in its entirety, the announcement was really good news for the B2B side of the business which includes UK Construction Week, the largest construction event, in addition to self-build events such as the Self-Build Bootcamp and Grand Designs Live. For Media 10 good news for home-building is great news for the construction industry which, in turn, is excellent news for the business.
Nathan Garnett, UK Construction Week event director, commented: “The budget was a positive one for the construction industry, with £44bn allocated to building new homes and £1.7bn allocated towards the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine, with major infrastructure projects set to be the main beneficiaries. There were calls for these measures at UK Construction week last month, and the 2018 event will be looking at how planning reform, increasing productivity and offsite construction will all play their part in solving the housing supply issue and give us the infrastructure to compete globally post Brexit.
Dale Parmenter, CEO at drp, commented: “The Chancellor, I think, didn’t seem to have a lot of flexibility at all considering the political and economic pressures going on at the moment.”
Parmenter said the events industry is vulnerable to business uncertainty and uncertainty is certainly growing. He pointed out that the industry needs confidence to be maintained for all stakeholders. “More money for housing is a great move, as is the infrastructure investment and R&D tax cut, there was also good news for the technology and digital businesses in our industry.”
The drp boss expressed disappointment as he noted that there was not a lot of small and medium businesses in the budget.
“Many of the companies in our sector come under that banner. It’s a missed opportunity, bearing in mind how much revenue our industry brings to the treasury each year. Additionally, there was very little around investment in people, such as training to encourage growth in the events sector.”
The HBAA chair said the industry needs to attract more young people to see the sector as a good career opportunity. “Raising personal allowances and with it, the tax threshold is a step forward, but providing funds to encourage 16 to 19-year-olds to train in the sector would have been a helpful initiative.”
Goalen also pointed out that the review of tourism and APD taxation in Northern Ireland was a good news, however, the HBAA chair was disappointed that the review doesn’t cover England, Scotland and Wales as well.