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Ease of movement biggest issue in event of no-deal Brexit, says top agency CEO

Ease of movement of people and equipment will be the biggest issue facing the events industry in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, according to the CEO of full service agency drp, Dale Parmenter.

“The concern regarding a no-deal Brexit will be around the free movement of production materials, equipment and delegates around the EU,” said Parmenter.

“I’ve been around long enough to remember the days of Carnet’s to get trucks across the channel and into Europe, causing additional advance work, costs and delays. Should we have a no-deal Brexit this will affect our competitiveness with dealings across the continent.”

Michael Hirst OBE, chair of the Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP), which works closely with the All Party Parliamentry Group for the events sector, agreed that ease of movement is crucial to the industry.

Hirst, however, says that the picture remains unclear until the government makes clear its position. He said: “We’re still awaiting the full set of papers to be published in order to fully understand the overall implications of a no deal Brexit especially those with regard to transport and movement of people both visitors and workers.

“We will be looking at any implications from other industry sectors which might have a knock-on effect such as goods potentially delayed at borders.

“Consideration is being given to carrying out a review of what steps event business are actually taking with regard to contingency planning and drawing up some suggestions on best practice to ameliorate any adverse consequences if there’s a no deal Brexit.

“Clearly a deal that facilitates continued ease of trade and access would be to the industry’s benefit and the government departments to which the industry relates are well aware of the issues arising from Brexit that are of concern to the sector.

The Meetings Industry Association (mia), however, notes that the Brexit process is already negatively impacting the events industry as there are fewer EU nationals working in the sector.

The mia’s chief executive, Jane Longhurst, said: “As an industry we should be preparing for all eventualities, which is why the mia increased its range of events and business initiatives to help minimise the potential impact of Brexit as soon as the result of the EU referendum was announced. 

“We know from our own online benchmarking tool, miaTouchstone, that as a result of Brexit staffing shortages remain a problem, partly due to the declining number of EU nationals working in the UK. We are continuing to actively encourage our members to meet the talent challenge, for example, by delivering a series of dedicated workshops alongside the internationally renowned Roffey Park. Other initiatives include our Future Fit Conference next year, which will be leading the way providing thought-provoking insight on the future opportunities for the sector.”

Managing director of Eclipse, Robin Purslow, said: “This month alone we have worked in Amsterdam, Prague, Munich, Dusseldorf and Barcelona providing creative event production. If no deal or bridging arrangement is put in place, we may no longer be able to freely transport our services between European Union countries in a cost-effective and timely manner as UK Community Licenses will become redundant.

“If no deal is brokered, the impact could be significant for organisations like Eclipse who could face incurring large tariffs as well as lengthy delays crossing borders. These additional costs and longer lead times will have to be billed to event planners, hugely reducing our competitive edge and making us potentially an unviable option.”