You may recall an update piece I wrote back in late July concerning the Government’s decision to scrap the Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP).
Over the years the TAP scheme had supported many UK MI Manufacturers in providing funding to subsidise exhibiting at events such as The NAMM Show, Music China and MusikMesse Frankfurt.
Following its withdrawal I wrote to a number of stakeholders across Government requesting extraordinary funding of £50,000, to provide a short-term solution for those businesses who would have been eligible to make a TAP claim for (what would have been) the upcoming NAMM Show in January 2022.
Clearly at the point of writing this ask of support was both relevant and timely, and although the decision made by NAMM to push its scheduling back has removed some of the urgency, the underlying thrust of the request remains valid.
As I mentioned in July the initial letter was sent to the following;
- Steven Barclay, MP – Chief Secretary to the Treasury (H.M Treasury)
- Graham Stuart, MP – Minister for Exports (D.I.T)
- Paul Scully, MP – Minister for Small Business (B.E.I.S)
- David Warburton, MP – Chair on APPG for Music
- Saqib Bhatt, MP – Chair on APPG Micro Business
Whilst this was a good mix of influencers across Government it became clear that it would be beneficial to the cause to garner some grassroots support from across Westminster.
As such, I followed up with a further approach to 25+ Members of Parliament. And whilst these MPs represented a cross-section of the House, they were united by either;
(a) being on the Trade Committee or
(b) by having an MI business in their constituency that had benefitted directly from the TAP scheme.
The first and very positive response we got was from Tony Lloyd MP. Tony is the MP for Rochdale and a member of the Select Committee for International Trade. Following contact from the MIA, he wrote a letter of support to the (then) Secretary of State Liz Truss MP, asking for urgent consideration of the matter of support for the UK MI industry.
The second response I (and Tony Lloyd) received was from Graham Stuart, the (then) Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the D.I.T. The letter is included for your reference, but in essence, it amounted to a polite ‘no’ to the request for direct financial support for UK MI. What it did however confirm was that there would be a successor initiative to Tap and that this would be finalised in the Autumn.
What Happens Next
Following on from his initial letter Tony Smith has agreed to table a question in the House on behalf of the MIA. I am working with the office of Tony Smith to help frame the question but it will focus on understanding how the Government determines which Trade Shows will be eligible for grant funding under any new scheme, and ask for a commitment that it will include those shows relevant to UK MI.
Running alongside this I will be writing to the DTI to formally request that those shows of importance to UK MI Manufacturers be approved for future funding requests under the successor to the TAP programme.
I will of course update you on progress, but if you have any comment that you feel would support this position then please get in touch.TTT Anthony Short, MIA PDF