EIA delivers open letter to PM and Chancellor


The EIA, comprising ESSA, the AEV and the AEO has, last night, delivered an open letter (attached) to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak after the continued lack of support provided to the event industry, despite DCMS having communicated approval of both guidance and pilot exhibition.

The letter is supported by 334 event industry companies from the membership of all three associations and proposes an Event Industry Hibernation Scheme. The scheme proposed would support the survival of businesses and their employees through closure of the industry, allowing it to restart once constraints are relaxed.

The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP The Prime Minister
10 Downing Street

The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP Chancellor of the Exchequer
11 Downing Street

Dear Prime Minister, Dear Chancellor,

Proposal for Events Industry Hibernation Support Package

As representatives of the UK events industry we are writing to raise our serious concerns over the existential threat faced by our sector given the Government’s decision to close events for at least another six months and the inability of many events companies to access the support measures announced by the Chancellor in the Winter Economy Plan. We write to propose an urgent support package for the sector.

We understand the challenging decisions government must take to control the spread of the virus whilst mitigating its economic and social impact. However, 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 employs around 600,000 people, with the exhibitions sector alone supporting some 114,000 of those jobs. Although nearly 60% of events and exhibitions businesses benefitted from the Government’s job retention scheme, its forthcoming cessation will leave the sector, its employees and the communities in which it operates in uniquely exposed, having been one of the only sectors not allowed to reopen during the summer.

The Events Industry Alliance (EIA) anticipates that 80% of the exhibitions sector workforce (consisting of events suppliers, organisers and venues), over 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 Job Support Scheme as they are not able to trade at all during the time and therefore will have no income to pay employees.

A recent 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.

Targeted Government support is urgently needed for the industry to survive. We therefore propose that the Government develops an ‘Events Industry Hibernation Support Package’ consisting of the following proportionate, time-limited measures to address its unique circumstances:

  • 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; and,
  • An enhanced grant and loan scheme offered to companies in the sector whilst it remains closed by the Government.
  1. The support package would be time-limited and would be entirely contingent on the sector not being able to trade. The support should be offered on an opt-in basis, with the most severely impacted companies applying for additional employment cost contributions and/or grants or loans.

The sector stands ready to provide the Government with any information it would need to develop and define the scope of these and any other measures.

We are not an unviable sector and simply require support to survive until the time is right to resume events, at which point we can return to our role of driving growth in the wider economy. Before COVID-19, the events industry was a vibrant, growing sector; contributing some £70bn of economic impact to the UK, with trade shows and consumer exhibitions some £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.

The sector is also a vital contributor to the UK’s economic competitiveness, and acts as the UK’s shop window to the world, enabling companies from a wide range of sectors to meet prospective customers, generating sales and driving UK exports. International competitors such as France and Germany recognise the vital contribution their events industries make to their own economies and have taken steps to permit COVID-secure events to continue. These and other countries are also providing more targeted support to help their events sectors get though these tough times. This is a highly mobile sector and the UK faces fierce international competition.

We remain confident that UK exhibitions can take place safely when the time is right to resume them with the robust health and safety measures already successfully demonstrated in the recent pilot. We have welcomed the engagement we have had with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on the steps the sector will be able to take to control the environments we create as ‘organised gatherings’ through a risk assessed approach, including (but not limited to) sophisticated track and trace measures to ensure public safety is maintained, and we look forward to continuing that dialogue.

However, vital parts of the ecosystem needed to resume events in the UK will cease to exist in the coming weeks, with catastrophic employment consequences, if targeted Government action is not taken now.

We hope that you will look favourably on this proposal and we and our teams stand ready to work with your officials to develop this proposed package of sector support measures.

Yours sincerely,

Association of Event Organisers, Association of Event Venues, Event Supplier & Services Association & 334 Member Organisations (overleaf)

Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

2 Heads Global Design Ltd
4D Design & Display Ltd
73 Media Ltd
A1 Event & Exhibition Cleaners Ltd Aboveline Ltd

Abraxys Ltd
ACC Liverpool
ADD Enterprise
Agility Logistics Ltd
Aim Exhibitions Ltd
Alfa Display And Design Ltd Aluvision NV
AMP Events
Anti Copying in Design Ltd (Acid) Apex.co.uk
Aspect Exhibitions
ATD Electrical Ltd
Aztec Event Services Ltd
Backstage Hospitality Service UK Ltd Bang on Ltd
Bauer Media – B2B & Transport
BCD M&E – Accommodation Services Beazley Group
beMatrix UK Ltd
Bill Bowden Event Logistics Ltd
Bill Moule & Sons Ltd
BJA Design and Exhibitions Ltd
Blue Hedgehog Displays Ltd
Borough Bench Media Ltd Bournemouth International Centre Brand Events
Brand Saints Ltd
Bray Leino Events
Briggs Equipment UK Ltd
Brintex Ltd
British Toy & Hobby Association Broadway Events
BtoB Events ltd
Business Design Centre
CBRE Managed Services Ltd
CC Exhibitions Ltd
CDI UK | Clements & Street
CEVA Showfreight
CFH Solutions Ltd
Charles Twite & Co Ltd

Immediate Media Co. Incendo Europe Ltd Indalo International Ltd Index Group

InEvexco Ltd
Infinity Colour Ltd
Infinity Colour Ltd
Informa Markets
Information Technology Rentals Ltd
Inovent Exhibitions Ltd
Inside Events Ltd
Insite Marketing Solutions Limited/Insite Graphics INTERFACE UK LTD
Interlink Design and Display Ltd
International Lifting & Shipping
Joe Manby Ltd
Jungheinrich UK Limited
Kent Event Centre
Korten Ltd
KR Exhibition Services
KRM Safety Management Ltd
Kudos Exhibitions Ltd
L C Events Ltd
Leach Impact
Leading Edge Design
Level 29 (t/a Gleanin)
MA Exhibitions
Mack Brooks Exhibitions Ltd
Maelstrom Event Solutions Limited
Manchester Central
Markey Coffee Communication
Mash Media Group Ltd
Mash Media Services Ltd
Media 10 Limited
MediaCo Ltd
Mems International
Messe Frankfurt UK LTD
Millbrook Events
Mind Body & Spirit
Modex Exhibitions
Montgomery Group
Moore Kingston Smith
Moore People
NAEC Stoneleigh
Nest Studios

CHS Group
Clarion Events Ltd
Clip International Ltd
CloserStill Media
Comexposium UK Ltd
Concept Furniture International Ltd Concept G Exhibitions and Events (Pty) Ltd Cook and Associates

Courts Design Ltd
Create AV (UK) Ltd
Creative Hire Ltd
Creative Logistix Solutions Ltd (CLS) Creative8 Limited

Creator International ltd
Cvent Inc
Cvent Inc
D Donovan and Sons (Carpet Services) Ltd Datalead Ltd

DB Pixelhouse Ltd DC3 Design Ltd DCE Group DConcept

DD Exhibitions
Design Built Exhibitions Ltd
DHL Trade Fairs & Events (UK) Limited
Dijon Exhibition Design Co Ltd
Display Revolution Ltd
Display Wizard Ltd
Diversified Communications UK
dmg Events
DMN designbuild
Dobson Brown Ltd
Dods Group PLC
DSA Limited
Duncan Sword Construction
DVV Media HR Group Ltd
D-Zine Furnishing Solutions Ltd
East of England Arena and Events Centre Eastern Exhibition & Displays
Edge Exhibition Design Limited
Eikon Exhibition Centre
Elevations Exhibition Design and Management ELS Displays Ltd
Engage Business Media

New Dimension Exhibitions Ltd New Scientist Ltd
Nimlok Limited
NJM (UK) Ltd

Northstar Travel Media Oliver Kinross
Olympia London Omanexpo LLC

Ottimo Digital Ltd
OX2P Ltd
P&J Live
Park Display Ltd
Perform Logistics Ltd
Perton Signs Ltd
PLASA Events Ltd
Press Red Rentals Ltd
Priority Exhibitions
Prospects Events
Publicity Systems Ltd
QD Events Ltd
Qdos Exhibitions Ltd
Quartz Business Media
Quattro Display Ltd
Raccoon Events
Rapid News Publications Ltd
Reed Exhibitions
Reeds Carpeting Contractors Ltd
Remote Audio Visual
Resolutions Ltd
Ricoh Arena
RMC Digital Print Ltd
Rocket Exhibition And Events
Rocket Exhibition Services Ltd
Rocket Graphics Ltd
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Royal College of Physicians
Royal Highland Centre
RTD Systems
Sandown Park Racecourse
Saturn Exhibitions
Scan Display Solutions (Pty) Ltd
Scottish Event Campus (SEC)
Sector Global Limited

Enigma Creative Solutions Ltd Envisage
Equinox Design Ltd

Europa International Exhibition Services Ltd Event Exhibition and Design Limited
Event Exhibition Services Ltd
Event Support Solutions

EventCity Ltd
EventCreate Ltd
Events Service LDA Limited
EventShaper Ltd
Evolve Creative Solutions Ltd
ExCeL London
Exhibit 3Sixty Ltd
Exhibit Designers And Producers Association
Exhibition and Event Carpeting Company Ltd
Exhibition Freighting G.S.M Ltd
Exhibition Girls Ltd
Exhibition Power Limited
Exhibition Services Ltd
Expo Floors Ltd
Expose Designs
EXSA (Exhibition Association of Southern Africa)
Extreme Exhibitions Ltd
F2F Events Ltd
Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre Farnborough International Limited
Faversham House Group Ltd
Fitz All Media Ltd
Floor 2000 Ltd
Floorex Carpets Ltd
Fluency Marketing
Fordmmp Limited
Foremarke Exhibitions Ltd
Formula Exhibitions Ltd
Forum Events Ltd
Fret Free Productions (Europe) Co Ltd
Full Circle Events & Exhibitions Ltd
Gallowglass Health & Safety LLP
Genesis 3D Design Ltd
GH Display
Giant iTab
GL Events
Global Displays Ltd

Sedef London
Sharman Shaw Exhibitions Ltd
Show Data Systems Ltd
Showlite Ltd
Sirius Conference And Events Ltd
Sistemas de Exposicion
Skala Contracts Ltd
Skyline Whitespace Exhibitions Ltd
Smart AV UK Ltd
Smart Digital TV Ltd
Smart Display & Exhibitions
Smarter Shows Ltd
Solutions 2 (UK) Ltd
Sommer Event Flooring Ltd
SQM sp. z.o.o. sp.k
Stadium MK
Standbuilder.co.uk Ltd
Symbiosis UK Ltd
T2 Display Ltd
Tag Digital Ltd
Tarsus Exhibitions Ltd
Taylex Displays Ltd
Tech AV Ltd
Telford International Centre
Tembo Ltd
Terrapinn Ltd
The Barista
The Black Pear
The Brighton Centre
The Event & Exhibition Partnership Ltd
The Event Co – London Ltd
The Exhibition Agency Ltd
The Freeman Company (UK) Ltd
The Inside BV
The Intershell Group
The Kia Oval
The Manufacturing Technology Association – MTA The NEC
The O2
The QMJ Group Ltd
The Silverstone Wing
Thorns Group
Thorns Group
Tobacco Dock

Global Experience Specialists (GES) GovNet Communications Harrogate Convention Centre
Hart Wilcox Production Company Heckford Exhibitions

Henson Franklyn Ltd
Highfields International Exhibition Services Ltd Hirex Ltd
Hollywood Monster Ltd
Hytex Communication Services Ltd
Hyve Group
IBC (International Broadcasting Convention)
ICC Belfast
ICC Wales & Celtic Manor
Icon Exhibitions and Display Ltd
IET – The Institution of Engineering and Technology IFES AISBL
Iguana Exhibitions Limited
Imagine Events Limited

Total Expo Ltd
Towergate Coverex
Trades Exhibitions Ltd
UKI Media & Events
Ungerboeck Systems International GmbH
Unique Exhibitions
Universal Services (GB) Ltd t/a Media Hut
University of Lincoln: Design for Exhibition & Museums Vectorworks UK Ltd
Vividfish Ltd
Vividink Ltd
Vortex Events Ltd
Ways & Means Events Ltd
West End Studios Ltd
White Rose Exhibitions Ltd
William Reed Business Media Ltd
Worldwide Exhibition Specialists Ltd
Xpo Team
X-Venture Ltd
Yorkshire Event Centre Ltd
Zero 1 Exhibitions

Paul Allott
Author: Paul Allott

Paul Allott is a director and co-founder of Event Industry News, Event Tech Live and the Event Technology Awards.