Confex 2015: Industry should fund BVEP, says Nick De Bois

Nick de Bois stresses need to fund single industry lobbying body, such as BVEP
Nick de Bois stresses need to fund single industry lobbying body, such as BVEP

MP Nick de Bois has told industry professionals they should "dig into their pockets" to fund a single lobbying group, such as the Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP), to make sure the sector is heard by government.

De Bois, the chairman for the All Party Parliamentary Group, raised the issue as part of a speaker session at International Confex yesterday (18 February). 

Interviewed by Alistair Turner, Davies Tanner PR director, De Bois said: "A challenge is that this industry may have to consider digging into its pockets to fund that one voice, preferably the BVEP, to make its voice heard on a continuous basis.

"To define this industry is a challenge, we could go through all the different sectors but it is still difficult. Twelve months ago it was, for many reasons, fractured and even by showing our diversity, it meant as a lobbying group it was pretty ineffective because it wasn't singing with one voice. Now it is, and the BVEP is key to that."

Ahead of May's General Election, De Bois expressed that unless the industry is hungry and looking to stand up and be counted, maintaining the current momentum, then it will only have itself to blame if it doesn't keep the momentum of the BVEP's work going.

"We've brought in departments and we want to ensure that continuity in what we set out now to deliver that long term," he added. "We've collated feedback from across the industry that is now being fed into government and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, who will shortly be jointly publishing their strategy of how to help support the event industry and UK productivity."

When asked by Event whether certain sectors were vocalising their issues more than others, De Bois said silos had been created, such as with health and safety, describing it as "having an open door" because of the subject matter. "While it has some really strong cases to make, it is talking to the already informed and educated," he added.

De Bois also stressed that as a whole industry, as highlighted in last year's APPG report, that we should be talking across government on subject matters such as visas. "With subject matters like this it's not just about talking to the Home Office," he explained. "We've urged the government to form an effective sub group that constantly beats to reflect this industry across the major departments. That will hopefully avoid silos."

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