Was the recent coronation of King Charles III a good or bad thing for UK business?

by administrator

It will not have escaped the notice of too many observers in the UK, and certainly great numbers of people further afield, that a nationally defining event took place over the bank holiday weekend.

Specifically, the coronation of King Charles III and his wife Camilla, was held on Saturday 6th May at Westminster Abbey, and was accompanied by much celebration, as well as a degree of protest.

But whatever one’s own view of the coronation and the British monarchy may be, it is also interesting to note there has also been much talk about the coronation’s business impact.

Although many people have suggested that the coronation – and the celebrations around it – could provide an important boost for a UK economy that has been sluggish as of late, others have asked whether it has been a less-than-helpful expense.

So, we thought we would take a closer look at the varied positions on this topic.

For some, the coronation is “overall, a good news story” for the economy

Any assessment of the coronation’s usefulness – or otherwise – to the UK economy will undoubtedly have to factor in its likely cost.

Although the UK Government has said that it cannot “give costs or a breakdown of funding” until after the event, a BBC News article said the estimated cost had been widely reported to be between £50 million and £100 million – albeit, it added that this figure did not originate from an official source.

Still, for many UK businesses presently making use of a chartered tax adviser in Somerset or Devon – as we can provide here at TS Partners – the cost to the taxpayer of the coronation might still be worthwhile expenditure given the economic boost it could deliver.

Among those speaking positively about the prospects for such a boost was the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), which said that from an economic point of view, the coronation was “overall, a good news story”.

Head of policy at the LCCI, James Watkins, said that crowds descending upon London for the historic event would give many businesses – particular those in the hospitality sector – the opportunity to benefit from such visitors’ passing trade.

Mr Watkins highlighted that with such firms having been adversely hit in recent years by factors including the COVID-19 pandemic and train strikes, the coronation would create the “massive boost” they would need in order to “get back on track”.

Indeed, the CEO of hospitality industry body UKHospitality, Kate Nicholls, expressed similar hope that the coronation would represent a positive development for firms in the sector. A recent survey by the organisation indicated that a third of hospitality businesses claimed to be at risk of failure within the next year, so this is clearly a delicate time for such companies.

Ms Nicholls was quoted as saying by CNN Business: “The coronation is a really helpful moment in time. It could give that boost to confidence. I think there is a lot of excitement. It is a rare event. Lots of people will want to come together in their local pubs, bars, and restaurants.”

Or has the coronation simply been a big cost that the UK could do without?

Much of the commentary on the coronation from more sceptical voices, has centred on the question of whether it is appropriate to hold such a lavish event at a time when many Britons are feeling significant pressure over the cost of living (and the cost of doing business, as many of those who have sought out a chartered tax adviser in Somerset or Devon from TS Partners will know).

With the coronation being a state occasion, it is the UK Government that has paid for it, alongside Buckingham Palace, through the Sovereign Grant and Privy Purse. Still, a recent survey carried out by YouGov found that more than half (52%) of Londoners did not believe it should be taxpayers footing the bill for the coronation.

Putting aside some of the less-than-favourable optics, however, there is also the question of whether the numbers add up for the economy with regard to the coronation’s supposed benefits.

According to research published in April 2022, for example – as cited by CNN Business – a public holiday falling on a Monday costs the UK an estimated £877 million ($1.1 billion), even after accounting for an increase in consumer spending.

With the coronation weekend having seen an additional bank holiday on Monday 8th May, the above research findings indicate that any economic boost could be somewhat eroded by the loss of a productive day.

Whatever your stance on the coronation, we can give you sustained and proven business support

We have no doubt that here at TS Partners, there will be differing views on the coronation and its economic impact among our clients, as indeed there are across the South West England and UK business communities as a whole.

Regardless of your own perspective on this subject, we’re sure you will agree with us that achieving sustained growth well beyond any positive effects brought by the coronation, will be a major priority for you.

To learn more about how a well-qualified and experienced chartered tax adviser in Somerset or Devon could help make this possible for your firm, why not enquire today to your nearest TS Partners office?