|Newsflash – Spring Budget|
|Spring budget – key takeaways for tourism The Chancellor’s main policy announcements had been well-leaked in advance, and so will have been of little surprise to many. As usual with Budgets, the devil is in the detail (or The Red Book), but here are some top-line takeaways.|
1. The extension of 30 hours free childcare per week (over 38 weeks per year) to children 9 months and upwards for eligible working parents. This is the marquee announcement in the Budget, and is an important one. This extends the current scheme which is for children aged 3 and up. The Government obviously hopes this will encourage people back into the labour market post maternity leave. If this works it would help ease some of our labour pressures. Note, however, that this will be “rolled out in phases from April 2024” so the effect won’t be felt for some time yet, but it is nevertheless to be strongly welcomed. There are other measures to support people back to work around benefit changes and a new pathfinder scheme to stimulate the supply of wrap-around care.
2. Air Passenger Duty rates for international short-haul flights will remain frozen in 2024-25. Domestic flights will go up by 50p and long-haul rates by £1.
3. £400m was announced for regeneration through ‘levelling up partnerships.’ The following areas are being invited to submit an plan for a partnership:
City of Kingston upon Hull, Sandwell, Mansfield, Middlesbrough, Blackburn with Darwen, Hastings, Torbay, Tendring, Stoke-on-Trent, Boston, Redcar and Cleveland, Wakefield, Oldham, Rother, Torridge, Walsall, Doncaster, South Tyneside, Rochdale, and Bassetlaw
A third levelling up round will proceed later this year with £1bn promised.
4. Alcohol duty. Duty rates of all alcoholic products produced in, or imported into, the UK will increase in line with RPI. Draught Relief will increase from 5% to 9.2% for beer and cider draught products and from 20% to 23% for wine, spirits based and other fermented draught products. These changes will take effect
from 1 August 2023. The Government say the draught relief will ensure that a typical pint of beer in the pub will always be lower than in the supermarket.
Although BBPA point out: “…our industry will be facing an overall tax hike, not a reduction, come August. Duty on non-draught beer will rise and the measures introduced today won’t rebalance the catastrophic impact soaring inflation and unfair energy contracts are having on both pubs and the breweries that supply them.”
5. DCMS departmental funding will fall from £2.0bn in 2022-23 to £1.5bn in 2023-4 and £1.4bn in 2024-5.
6. Many of the industry’s key asks were sadly lacking from the Budget. The lack of any additional specific energy support for businesses could prove fatal to some business in the sector. (Although the extension of domestic support to June may help on the consumer side). UKHospitality point out that “it remains the case that we need to see urgent action on the market failures identified by Ofgem in its non-domestic review update [on 14 March]. The current timeline of further action by the summer is not good enough.”
7. There was no movement on VAT-free shopping for international visitors which is a key policy to ensure we remain competitive against other countries. UKInbound called this a “missed opportunity”. We maintain our call for the Treasury to commission a full analysis from the Office of Budget Responsibility to see how such a policy would actually be a net contributor to the Treasury coffers .
Update on Martyn’s Law (Protect Duty)
Update from AEV
The AEV was invited to a workshop with the Home Office alongside LIVE last week to discuss the draft legislation due in spring 2023. The purpose of the session was to try and ensure that the drafted Martyn’s Law Legislation works for us as an industry when it gets published. The legislation will be subject to scrutiny via evidence sessions at Select Committee hearings over the summer after which a report will be published. At the session we advised that, as an industry, we are seeking clarification on responsibility in a number of areas (eg grey space / police support) to ensure consistency is applied across events and venues in the UK.
Update from EIF
Purple Guide Update – Martyn’s Law (aka Protect Duty)
While there is much talk around the events industry about the implications of Martyn’s Law, there remains considerable uncertainty over the extent it will be applied and it is still likely to be a couple of years before anything becomes law.
Although event organisers should always seek to do all they can to protect their staff and the public, there is as yet no legal requirement to apply anything proposed under ‘Martyn’s Law’ and, indeed, current discussions suggest that the law many not apply to open air events.
Russell Phillips, counter terrorism advisor who is close to the current discussions on Martyn’s Law, recently presented to the AFO conference on the subject – you can see his presentation here
NaCTSO (National Counter Terrorism Security Office ) are also advising everyone not to pay money to companies offering training on a law that does not yet exist and will have many bumps along the road before it reaches Parliament.
However, there is an argument for event organisers to start thinking about the issues around this area and a good starting point can be found at https://www.protectuk.police.uk/ and its app for all mobile phones where they can stay up-to-date and start thinking about what they can do now to prevent or respond to an attack.