Events sector trade body says Chancellor’s job support scheme fails to address existential threat sector faces

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Chris Skeith, CEO, Association of Event Organisers (AEO)

Commenting on today’s statement by the Chancellor, Chris Skeith, CEO of the Association of Events Organisers, said:

“The Chancellor’s proposals today fail to provide the support the UK events sector desperately needs. Given that no UK events are permitted to take place until March 2021 at the earliest, a wage subsidy is of little use to events businesses that are not able to trade at all and the sector is facing an existential threat to its viability. Without targeted action the future looks bleak for a sector that employs 600,000 people across the UK, with widespread business insolvencies and job losses a certainty. This is a desperate day for the industry.”

Further points:

  • The Prime Minister’s announcement earlier this week means that UK events are currently not permitted until March 2021 at the earliest. This situation is in contrast with France and Germany which are continuing to allow COVID-secure events to take place.
  • The UK events sector employs some 600,000 people, with the exhibitions sector alone supporting some 114,000 of those jobs. We anticipated 45% of the exhibitions sector workforce would be made redundant if it were not permitted to reopen on the 1st October, but due to the lack of action from Government we estimate this will increase to 80%, meaning a job loss of over 90,000 people from our sector alone, and potentially 100,000s across the wider event sector.
  • The events industry was a vibrant, growing sector before the pandemic, contributing some £70bn of economic impact to the UK, with trade shows and consumer exhibitions some £11bn. We support almost 180,000 businesses who rely on exhibitions and events across every market and industry sector. The package of measures simply do not support an industry that will be needed post pandemic, post-Brexit to help generate trade to kick start markets and the UK economy.
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