The Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) has announced that it is making a Freedom of Information (FOI) request of the government.
The request is part of an effort by ESSA to determine the reasoning behind recent government decisions, not limited to the postponement of the so-called “go date” for exhibitions, October 1 2020, being abandoned. In total, ESSA is requesting information across 16 distinct areas.
Andrew Harrison, ESSA director (pictured), explained the need for the FOI request, “Our members are growing increasingly exasperated with the lack of clarity and support from the government throughout this pandemic. Whilst many have been grateful for the financial help offered by the national furlough scheme and access to loans, there still appears to be little recognition that event industry businesses are suffering especially hard with little or no information forthcoming from government.”
ESSA Chair Lou Kiwanuka stated, “We have worked with the government very closely on creating the All Secure Standard, gained sign off for our pilot events, provided copious amounts of feedback on the current situation within our sector, and garnered the support of many constituency MP’s for our plight, yet the events industry supply chain is still on the verge of collapse with no meaningful support for the event supply chain.”
“This FOI request,” Kiwanuka continued, “is one of the few remaining tools at our disposal to reveal why the government has made some of its decisions. We want to help reignite the economy by bringing about the successful, sustainable, and safe return of business events. But we cannot do that unless we know why our efforts were unsuccessful during certain key moments in the last nine months, when we can start planning for a possible restart date in the future and most critically now, how the supply chain will survive until then. This is becoming increasingly difficult for all of us especially with bounce back loan repayments looming. ESSA is committed to keep the focus on these key areas and we would ask our members and broader community to write once again to MPs and council leaders to seek support for our sector. ”