Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the Meetings Industry Association, said:
“Following the distribution of the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, it was disappointing not to see reference to the business meetings and events industry.
“The business meetings and events industry contributes £31bn directly to the economy, accounting for almost 50% of the £70bn events sector, but the Government must also recognise the additional contribution from our ancillary companies such as contract caterers, accommodation providers and production companies.
“This continued lack of recognition for our sector only reinforces well-documented concerns that we are in urgent need of an exit plan for our sector and continued financial support to create stability for both operators and employees.
“The paper outlined plans to wind down financial support measures. We need to understand what these are likely to be for our sector. Our recent research compiled for DCMS suggests that 157,500 employees could be made redundant before the end of the year. In reality this could be much higher if the support measures are eased off too soon. We already know our industry could be one of the last to reopen and with significant restrictions, so it’s vital we have a plan in place for a solid recovery.
“We will be writing to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak once again to highlight the value of our industry to the economy but also the impact of not providing a clear pathway for our sector to reopen and recover this year.”