The Meetings Industry Association (mia) responds to the Chancellor of Exchequer’s Autumn Statement 2023 that today set out the government’s plans for tax and spending.
The mia’s chief executive, Kerrin MacPhie, said on the following areas:
Business rate reduction
“The Meetings Industry Association welcomes the Chancellor of Exchequer’s extension of the 75% business rates discount for retail, hospitality and leisure (RHL relief) for another year, which will help offset against a small proportion of the rising costs experienced across the sector.
“However, as a sector that works to longer lead times, we need to be in a position to anticipate future increases in costs.
“Therefore, having reinforced this as a temporary support measure, it’s essential that government is transparent with its future plans for rates in retail, hospitality and leisure moving forward, so that organisations can carefully manage what are already highly sensitive budgets.”
National Living Wage
“The 9.8% rise in the National Living Wage presents significant cost increases for the sector, a consistent theme for 2023. Having continued to raise its prices to counteract soaring costs over the last 12 months, the sector is running out of room to maneuver when it comes to maintaining profit levels and the appetite for UK meetings and events – especially from those overseas.
“If marketed well, the National Living Wage increase could, however, help support the next generation along the pathway to a career in business meetings and events. Now expanded to include those aged 21-22, this move can help increase the appeal of the sector to the younger generation, with the added incentive to work helping address the staff shortages reported by 49% of organisations in our most recent mia Insights.”
“As with the increased National Living Wage, we can recognise welfare reforms as an opportunity for the business meetings and events workforce.
“With staffing and recruitment challenges within the sector well-documented and highlighted again in our mia Insights, out-of-work welfare recipients will now have greater incentive to look for work, and we can offer flexible opportunities in business meetings and events.
“Alongside the £63m spring budget investment in ‘Returnerships’ – encouraging adults over the age of 50 to get back into work and embark on exciting new career ventures – these two initiatives could change the makeup of the sector and help support a more diverse workforce. This includes £34m of additional investment in Skills Bootcamps and Sector-based Work Academy Programs (SWAPs), which we continue to look for ways for the business meetings and events sector to engage with.”
Tax breaks being extended
“From our latest mia Insights we’re aware that 75% of those investing in their future development are most commonly investing in IT, so the mia welcomes the news that the tax break allowing businesses to deduct 25% of machinery and equipment costs from their tax bill has been extended.
“This will provide organisations in the sector with the certainty that they can continue to confidently invest for less under the government’s ‘permanent full expensing’ policy. For every £1 that an organisation invests in IT, machinery and equipment, organisations can claim back 25p in corporation tax.”