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Key industry figures to debate Living Wage for Live Events campaign

First campaign debate to be held at Church House Conference Centre on 16 October

Some of the UK meetings industry’s key figures will feature in the first Living Wage for Live Events campaign debate.

To be held at Church House Conference Centre on Friday 16 October, the debate will feature meeting and events professionals including Des Mclaughlin, Grass Roots Meetings & Events; Hannah Richardson, KPMG London; Tim Chudley, Sundial Group; and the Meetings Industry Association’s Rachael Betts.

The debate, moderated by M&IT managing editor Martin Lewis, will consider the campaign’s aim to ensure frontline staff in hospitality, meeting and event venues are paid the Living Wage. Currently, the rate is calculated as £9.15 per hour in London and £7.85 for the rest of the UK by the Living Wage Foundation. 

The Living Wage is a higher rate of pay than the National Living Wage of £7.20 for workers aged 25 and above, set to be introduced in April 2016.

M&IT and the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) teamed up to launch the campaign this year, and are encouraging event buyers to put the Living Wage at the top of their agenda. You can pledge your support by signing the petition at

ABPCO association director Heather Lishman said: “It is something we are passionate about and we want the campaign to address questions on behalf of event professionals everywhere. 

"At present, the hotel and hospitality sectors are rated as some of the worst offenders when it comes to not paying their frontline employees the living wage. The Centre for Research in Social Policy found that 90 per cent of workers in the hospitality sector are paid under the living wage and, whilst it is not enforceable, people are now starting to question whether this is morally right.

“The positive news is that some companies are beginning to react and make a change. One of the first conference venues to be accredited was Sundial Group’s Barnett Hill and the campaign is now urging event buyers to put the Living Wage at the top of their agenda when it comes to selecting a venue.

“Support is growing and this is superb news but we are not so blind that we accept there will not be challenges to face when adopting the Living Wage and this is why a debate has been organised. It is important that the campaign is debated from all angles so it ultimately ensures that what is best for the industry is recognised and implemented.”

The inaugural debate is also being held as part of the National Events Month campaign, of which ABPCO is an active supporter.

Michael Hirst, chair of the Business Visits & Events Partnership, added: "It's good to see the industry taking this issue on well ahead of the introduction of the new National Living Wage next April. There's a balance to be struck between implementing the proposed new wage rates with ensuring business services and profitability are safeguarded. I congratulate ABPCO and M&IT for leading on this important issue and helping the industry respond to what could be a major impact on operational costs.” 

Those attending the debate include:
Robin Parker – Church House Conference Centre
Des Mclaughlin, Grass Roots Meetings & Events
Hannah Richardson – KPMG London
Laura Brookes – KPMG London
Tim Chudley – Sundial Group
Claudia Douglass – Innovision
Rachael Betts – on behalf of the MIA

If you have strong views on the subject and would like to take part or attend the debate, email Heather Lishman for more information. Discover more at

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