Bah, humbug - businesses shun Christmas party

Research has shown that less than half of businesses have set aside cash for a Christmas party (many of which will be tonight).

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 09 Dec 2010
Rejoice, everyone – for today is black Thursday, which, as those who have the pleasure of working in the bar trade will know all too well, is the most popular night of the year for office Christmas parties. But alas, alack! For all is not well in Christmas party land: it turns out that this year, not all places of work will be extending festive tidings to their staff. In fact, according to Sage, just over half of businesses haven’t set aside any money at all for the appropriate felicitations. So let’s take a moment tonight, as we inevitably find ourselves gyrating to Chesney Hawkes’ The One and Only, to consider the plight of those affected. To quote Sir Bob: do they know it’s Christmas time at all?

According to Sage, which asked 1,356 businesses what their plans were, 48% are throwing a Christmas party this year. And of those businesses, 46% have budgeted for a spend of between £26-£50 per head, while just over 28% plan to spend the miserly sum of £25. That said, just over 1% said they were going to splash out more than £150 per person – so caviar and champagne all round, then. (While the rest of us make do with cod roe and cava, at best).

For those who do intend to celebrate tonight, Santa's little helpers at the Forum of Private Business have seen fit to remind businesses that their workers will have to be good boys and girls – especially the morning after. It issued some ‘top tips’ for businesses, which included being aware of drug use (apparently employers are liable for anyone using drugs on their premises – so keep a look out) and letting staff know that they’re expected to turn up for work tomorrow morning, whether they’re nursing a hangover or not.

There’s also a helpful little hint about tax breaks, too – viz., that the cost of a Christmas party is tax-deductible, as long as you spend less than £150 per head, and as long as their partners aren’t being invited (heaven forbid). So perhaps being a bit of a Scrooge pays off…


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