• July 8, 2024

Election 2024: Event industry leaders welcome ‘fresh start’

Election 2024: Event industry leaders welcome ‘fresh start’

Election 2024: Event industry leaders welcome ‘fresh start’ 1024 685 micebook.

As predicted by the polls, Labour won last week’s election and have formed a new government with Keir Starmer at the helm as the country’s new prime minister.

We asked some of our nineteen event agency leaders to share their thoughts on the election outcome and what they would like to see from the Labour government.

Sarah Yeats, MD, Sledge

Change means a fresh perspective and doing things differently, and it’s often what is needed to advance towards a more positive future – for our own sector, and the UK as a whole.

Labour has committed to growing the arts, culture and creative industries, through actions such as making our work more accessible to all, providing greater support and protection for freelancers, and reforming the Apprenticeship Levy to encompass more creative-based skills.

While this is positive, the event industry was largely forgotten during some of our toughest times – particularly the pandemic – and I hope that the sector is not an afterthought within this overarching ‘arts, culture and creative’ category.

The talent shortage – which remains after so many people exited events amid COVID, budgetary and lead time challenges, and reducing our environmental impact are all pressing issues right now.

I’d therefore like to see the Labour government create further training, education and opportunities for young talent considering entering the industry, highlight the value that event professionals bring to the economy, people, and organisations to drive investment in our sector, and actively support us to develop and ingrain sustainable policies throughout all that we do, so that environmental best practices become standard across the board.

Ian Cummings (ex global head, CWT Meetings & Events)

“Change begins now” is all we’ve heard for the last four days since the announcement of the landslide Labour win. Whatever our individual political leaning I think we could all agree that change in the political arena should be a good thing and hopefully provides a new impetus for focus on the events sector.

To date we’ve heard a lot of talk around the £40bn value of the sector, but not much concrete action from Government to recognise, support and invest in this important engine for economic growth for our economy. We’ve seen good progress from the likes of “The Business of Events” and hopefully the change in government will bring a new refreshed approach to listening, understanding and eventually policy change to better support our industry’s ability to fuel economic growth.

I personally believe that having the sector sitting in Culture, media & sport hasn’t helped the main business events sector we are focussed on. Culture & sports events talks to festivals and major sporting events but somehow Business Events has always gotten lost in this sector. Other industry bodies are doing good work to break down and define the data and make sure there is a clear focus on education around the sector and especially attracting new talent, which is also a good thing. Being an optimist – my hope is, this new government will make a concerted effort to accelerate progress for our sector. We shall see……

Simon Hambley, CEO, Strata.

From the perspective of the event industry and the country, a change in government was necessary. The Conservatives have drifted too far to the right, losing their direction. This shift began with austerity long before Brexit, which has dealt a significant blow to our industry. The last government’s extreme right-wing stance was alarming.

I’m hoping this new Labour government might stimulate the economy and could eventually promote closer ties with Europe, which would benefit our industry. However, Labour’s economic track record is not impressive, and they haven’t clearly stated that Brexit was a mistake. For our industry, Brexit has only added unwanted complexity and costs. Additionally, Labour’s apparent disregard for long-term business owners and their likely tax increases on business leaders seem counterproductive to economic growth.

In summary, the choices on polling day were dismal: ‘potentially capable,’ ‘historically ineffective,’ and ‘keeping extremists out of power.’ This election offered us the most disappointing selection of leadership I’ve seen in my voting life.

Dale Parmenter, CEO, DRPG

Over the years I’ve been asked many times by politicians of all parties what would I like government to do for me, my answer is the same every time ‘As little as possible’. Businesses need to run businesses with very little political interference. Absolutely businesses need to be responsible and create a sustainable future for everyone, which the majority do, and those who abuse their people, customers or community should be held to account.

Politics can’t and shouldn’t dictate business success. We need a stable economic environment that encourages growth and innovation. Clear policies and robust infrastructure are essential, but ultimately, it’s our resilience and adaptability that drive us forward. To be clear, without a successful business community, there would be no NHS, no education, no security. Businesses create the wealth that in turn pays for all the public services and running of the country. So, it’s in the interest of any Government to make that process as simple as possible, reducing red tape and bureaucracy; have people in the government who understand business and collaborate rather than obstruct. I would go as far as to say no one should be a politician until they have spent at least five years in the commercial world, that’s how important business is to this country.

While election results always spark discussion, our business approach at DRPG remains unaffected by political shifts both at a national UK level and internationally, with our German and American offices. Our focus is steadfast: achieving our goals and delivering value to our clients and stakeholders through creativity and innovation. As a business we adapt and thrive, regardless of the political landscape and the challenges that sometimes creates, such as ridiculous rules and regulations. All I would say to the new government, business is not you enemy, the success of your next year is massively dependent on how businesses perform to create a stable growth economy. So, don’t make it any more challenging than it already is, create the environment to let us shine; in many cases that just means butting out and letting us get on with it.

Elizabeth Heron, founder & CEO, OrangeDoor

Labour campaigned on a platform of ‘change & growth’ in this election, so my two observations are on these points specifically and the vital role SMEs play in driving both of these for the UK economy and the events industry.
SMEs are the backbone of the British economy, but they have too often felt neglected by successive governments when it comes to growth incentives, innovation support, and international expansion. The constant cabinet reshuffles of recent years have also accentuated this due to a lack of coherent long-term policy that businesses can get behind and plan on the basis of.
Significant growth will only happen if radical changes are made that ignite real confidence and innovation within UK SME businesses, including those in the events sector. There needs to be a belief that the government ‘gets us’, understands us, and is prepared to come forth with exciting new policies that reflect this.
Too many governments have failed to understand the role ‘hope’ plays within those who lead SMEs, particularly in our industry. If you don’t have hope and you can’t see a positive future, you lose your confidence, and if that goes, so does the investment needed to drive innovation and growth.
If I were around the cabinet table now, I’d start by asking what would give SME leaders hope, especially for those in the events industry. Change and growth require governments to be bold and brave first. That’s my hope for this one!

Neil Evans, director, Nteractive

The Future

Wherever you are in the world, you cannot ignore the devastating effects of climate change on most aspects of our lives. The new government has set out a bold plan of green policies, supported by £23.7 billion, to promote growth, prosperity, and environmental sustainability. I would welcome an era of increased education and pragmatic support for local councils and businesses of all sizes, rewarding positive behaviour change and sustainability initiatives across various aspects of our everyday lives.

A great example of such initiatives is Copenhagen’s “CopenPay” scheme that was launched this week. Tourists will be rewarded with free food and activities if they participate in environmentally friendly tasks while visiting the city. This trial scheme encourages tourists to engage in activities such as litter-picking, travelling by public transport, or biking around the city. In return, they can claim free lunches, coffees, glasses of wine, and kayak rentals. The scheme aims to offset the “environmental burden” of tourism and promote sustainable behaviour among visitors.

With the optimism that drives me as an entrepreneur, I hope the new political leadership takes a breath to assess, alongside businesses and experienced focus groups, how we can make better choices together while encouraging creative and innovative ways to build a greener, cleaner future for all.

“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”
― Malcolm X


COVID-19 had a devastating physical and psychological impact on many people around the world. However, there were many bright moments as society pulled together to look after one another. I believe we emerged from COVID-19 with a renewed appreciation for those less fortunate and a gratitude for the opportunity to engage face-to-face once again.

The acceleration back to live events and the desire to belong to a community that collaborates, ideates, shares, and has fun together has never been stronger. While we have realised that effective meetings can be conducted on screen and that daily office presence or extensive travel are not always necessary, the social imperative to connect with others and be part of something meaningful has never been more evident.

Despite the pressure and crazy hours, being part of the event and hospitality industry remains a privilege for many of us. It would be great to see the government encourage practical incentives that enable the event and hospitality industry to actively support those less fortunate.

“Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice.”
― William Arthur Ward


The lifeblood of any successful society is the ability to make the future better for everyone. The creative industry that shapes events is instrumental in crafting experiences that change how we think, learn, and play. We are brand storytellers and chief engagement architects. In a season of concerts, festivals, and weddings, we bring joy, excitement, and emotional engagement to many. We design for impact and create for memories.

Given the significant contribution of the event and hospitality industry to the economy, it would be great to see the government recognise our impact and explore ways to apply our practices to other industries, creating cross-industry innovation.

“Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity, not a threat.”
— Steve Jobs

Anna Green, MD, Broadsword

The election outcome brings a sense of optimism; if it leads to economic stability, this will be great news for the events industry. The Labour Party recognises that the creative industries have intrinsic value, contributing significantly to the economy with immense potential for exports and job creation. Their manifesto aims to foster growth and revitalise the sector with supportive policies, stable economic management and investment in talent and skills.

A cornerstone will be to provide high-quality creative education and ensure access to creative careers for people from all backgrounds. With promises of significant investment in education, it’s important for us to get behind initiatives such as Events Apprenticeships and actively encourage pathways that inspire school leavers to pursue careers in our fantastic industry.

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