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Dithering PM finally stands up for eventprofs – more please!

After months of dither and delay, the government has finally budged on business events.

Prime minister Boris Johnson’s announcement to the Commons that business events for up to 1,000 people inside will be allowed to take place from 2 December in England, is undoubtedly good news.

But, goodness me, didn’t it take him long enough to decide to do this?

The limit of 30 people for business events has been scrapped, as Johnson admitted, to provide “more consistency with performances in theatres and concert halls.”

If he’d wanted to provide more consistency he could have made this decision back in the summer.

For months, event organisers have scratched their heads, trying to work out why theatres could host performances, but not business meetings.

We took our grievances to the highest level and received nothing but obfuscation in return. No one was able to explain why a business event was less safe than a game of bingo, or a trip to B&Q.

All my conversations on the subject led me to understand that the block on business events came from within Number 10 itself.

It is interesting therefore to note that the lifting on restrictions on business events comes just a week after the departure of two of the prime minister’s key advisers.

The timing of the departures and the relaxation of rules around business events may be sheer coincidence, I suspect we’ll never know.

Whatever happened to make Johnson change his mind, we can only hope that it marks a sea change in his attitude towards business meetings and events.

The prime minister has burnt through almost all of his goodwill with event professionals in the last 12 months. I’ve never seen the industry as politically-engaged as this – and virtually no one has a good word for the man in charge.

However, if we get more announcements like the one this week, that treat us on a par with other sectors, there is still time for Johnson to repair that relationship.

Over to you, prime minister.

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