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Warning that 90,000 jobs could be lost in the events industry

Written by: Emma Lunn
The Events Industry Alliance (EIA) has written an open letter to Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak warning that 80% of its total workforce may be lost within weeks due to an “existential threat” to the events industry.

The EIA, comprising the Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA), the Association of Event Venues (AEV), and the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), says the continued lack of support provided to the event industry means up to 90,000 jobs could be lost.

The events industry employs about 600,000 people and has been forced to remain shut due to government restrictions which aim to halt the spread of coronavirus.

The EIA anticipates that more than 90,000 people will be made redundant in the coming weeks due to continued event closures and the inability of their employers to access the new Jobs Support Scheme as they are not able to trade at all and therefore will have no income to pay employees.

A recent EIA survey highlighted the significant impact on companies’ revenues due to the government’s closure of events.

This showed that events suppliers expected their revenues in November to be only 8% of pre-Covid levels, with corresponding figures of 9% for events venues, and 13% for event organisers.

The letter put forward a proposal for an “Events Industry Hibernation Support Package” consisting of:

  • An adapted wage subsidy scheme, with a temporary higher government contribution to event companies’ employment costs, reflecting that government restrictions are preventing them from generating revenues.
  • A regular review process with clear criteria and industry involvement to assess the ability of Covid-secure events to resume at a future date. This would enable both for companies in the sector to prepare for a resumption of events and for temporary government support measures to be tapered off as the sector is reopened and starts to generate revenues, which it is confident of doing
  • An enhanced grant and loan scheme offered to companies in the sector whilst it remains closed by the government.

The EIA suggests the support package would be time-limited and would be entirely contingent on the sector not being able to trade.

The EIA says that before the pandemic, the events industry was a “vibrant, growing sector”, contributing £70bn of economic impact to the UK, with trade shows and consumer exhibitions contributing £11bn.

The sector also supports a further 180,000 businesses, many of whom are SMEs, who rely on exhibitions and events to meet customers and generate sales across every market and industry sector.

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