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Brexit could result in 'silly regulations' for events industry

Event Huddle debates whether UK should stay in the European Union

Panelists (from left) Jeremy Jacobs, Nick De Bois, chair Robert Dunsmore, Nicky Havelaar and Simon Hughes talk about Brexit

A Brexit could result in 'silly regulations' and impediments for the events industry, panellists at this week's EventHuddle argued.

CrownBC MD Nicky Havelaar and MCHA Ltd managing partner Simon Hughes said a departure from the European Union (EU) could hinder UK event professionals in delivering European events and winning business.

The two other panellists, Rapier Group founder and former Enfield North MP Nick de Bois and broadcaster Jeremy Jacobs, argued a Brexit could open up more opportunities with emerging markets.

The panel, chaired by Robert Dunsmore, agreed that a clear industry viewpoint and more information was needed ahead of a vote, during the debate at 1 Wimpole St.

Hughes said: "Europe is the biggest consumer market in the world. We're part of it and I think staying part of it has a compelling storyline. What do other nations think of us contemplating leaving? Diplomats in Washington think we'd be crazy to come out of it, and they're trading partners. There's a reputational thing here."

Hughes said he knew of "several agencies" who used emerging overseas markets to cut costs, and said leaving the EU would see more impediments and "silly regulations" introduced.

He added: "Going out of Europe would introduce a huge number of small, but no doubt (time-consuming) steps. It will put more impediments in our way in terms of silly regulations, in terms of having to reform employment laws and re-think ways of doing business."

Havelaar said clients would be deterred by the UK leaving the EU. She said: "Any barriers I try to take away as it makes business more difficult and business is extremely difficult at the moment."

She added: "I worry about people not knowing what they're voting for, I'm worried about the (lack of) communication that is available. There will be an awful lot of people voting by emotions."

De Bois and Jacobs were both reluctant to give a distinct 'yes' or 'no' for a Brexit, but focused their arguments on the benefits of leaving.

De Bois questioned why the UK would want to be affiliated with a declining trade union, saying the EU market share is predicted to shrink from 37 per cent to 25 per cent by 2020.

"If we came out of the EU the reality is we would enter a new arrangement with Europe that would address trade," he said.

"If we look at existing arrangements with countries who have chosen not to enter Europe, like Finland, they've established their own arrangements."

Jacobs added: "We should look at our own strength as an industry. The UK is a world-class place to do business and I see no reason why we can't hold on our own in terms of trading with the rest of the world."

The next EventHuddle will discuss terrorism threats and keeping delegates safe.

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