The events industry is warning the government that 90,000 jobs will be lost in the coming weeks without an urgent package of support measures.
An open letter today to the prime minister and chancellor signed by 334 companies across the country sets out the “existential threat” facing the industry, which is one of the few sectors that remains fully closed.
The letter says Rishi Sunak’s new wage subsidy scheme is “of little use to events businesses that are not able to trade” and calls for an “events industry hibernation support package”.
Among the requested measures is an adapted wage subsidy scheme with a temporary higher government contribution towards events companies’ employment and an enhanced grant and loan scheme available during the closure.
The letter, co-ordinated by the Events Industry Alliance, says that although events have been closed down by the government for at least another six months, many companies are unable to access measures announced in the chancellor’s winter economy plan.
It says: “The prime minister’s announcement last week means that the once-vibrant and growing UK events industry has been closed by the government, and this is certain to have catastrophic employment consequences across the UK.”
Britain’s events sector contributes £70 billion to the economy and employs about 600,000 people, with the exhibitions sector accounting for 114,000 of those jobs. The alliance estimates that 80 per cent of exhibitions staff will be made redundant in the coming weeks because of continued closures and the inability of companies to access the new job support scheme.
Citing a recent survey, the letter says that events suppliers are expecting their revenues in November to reach only 8 per cent of pre-Covid levels, with corresponding estimates of 9 per cent for events and 13 per cent for event organisers.
The letter, which is signed by businesses from FTSE 100 companies to small and medium-sized enterprises, says the proposed support package would be “entirely contingent on the sector not being able to trade”, adding: “We are not an unviable sector and simply require support to survive until the time is right to resume events.”
Signatories include Olympia, Excel London, the NEC, William Reed Business Media and ICC Belfast.