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Why public sector cuts could be worse than the recession for UK venues

Why public sector cuts could be worse than the recession for UK venues

Our World | On 18, Jun 2010

It looks like the new Government will be announcing public sector spending cuts on a weekly basis. Everyone knows we have a massive deficit and the cuts will be wide ranging and deep, but what we don’t yet know is what will be the true effect of the public sector cuts on the events industry? There are literally tens of thousands of meetings every year and there are going to be significant cuts.

This could be a catastrophe of epic proportions for UK venues as these cuts are not just limited to the recent warnings from the COI as the “public sector” extends into is so wide ranging that I’m not sure anyone really knows how much is spent. We of course know about the massive spend of central government and the various ministries, but included in public sector are also regional, county, urban and local councils, the police, fire and ambulance services, the army, navy and air force, customs and excise, border control, prison service, plus countless hospitals and NHS trusts, the list is endless. The public sector are the largest employer by far and the biggest user of venue in space for meetings, conferences, training and events. There is probably a some type of public sector meeting in every town and city every day. Of course all this activity won’t stop completely and no doubt there will be extra meetings to discuss how to implement costs savings, but few will be able to justify training and meetings at the expense of front line services.

If the public sector spend £1billion on UK venues, (and I think it is a lot more) even a small percentage reduction is going to have a significant impact. Undoubtedly the pace of private sector recovery is going to be even more vital for our venues over the next few years.

Nigel Cooper