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A survey by the Events Industry Forum (EIF) and Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) found out that 60% of companies working in the UK’s event industry are on the brink of collapse if they don’t receive help from the government. What needs to be done to help them survive?
A Sector that Needs Help Urgently
Almost 1,500 event industry-related companies answered the online survey. This includes event specialists, stands constructors for events, freelancers, event sites, and many other various types of companies that work in the field.
Most of them believe that the industry will be devastated within three months if no help comes, while 6% believed that they wouldn’t even make it through the month of April.
So many different industries are facing the same fate as the event industry that governments will have to find ways to supply them with cash flow for a while. Something they said they would do through the Chancellor of the Exchequer who indicated in the House of Commons that event organizers and all the supply chain in the field should be eligible for leisure and hospitality business support grants.
The problem is, only 1% of the respondents to the survey said that they had been accepted for a government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
The event industry is quite large in the UK and featuring a solid contingent of women either at the helm of companies or working in various jobs. It represents no less than 600,000 workers for outdoor events only and 115,000 in the conference, exhibition, and indoor events sectors.
With all summer events having been cancelled and conferences and exhibitions postponed to the last quarter of 2020 (but mostly cancelled altogether), that will mean hundreds of thousands of people with no regular salary for the year who will need to go on unemployment benefits.
Even more unprotected are the freelancers and self-employed who may not be eligible to receive unemployment. They usually work mostly throughout the summer season in the various festivals, from music to agriculture. For them, the situation might be even direr.
It’s the same across the supply line. We often think of the event industry as the people who organize events and the sites that hold them, but there is a whole world behind it to build stages, seating, lighting, stands, sanitation facilities, and so much more.
The Message is Slowly Getting Through
It would seem like some people in charge inside the government are starting to realize that the event industry will be important to help kick-start the economy again and have been looking into how to help them.
The Secretary of the Events Industry Forum, which speaks for 26 different organizations involved in outdoor events, was very clear when he spoke with the government, and that may have helped. He said the industry was literally on its knees after the cancellation of so many events and that they need them to remind local authorities that all members of the industry are eligible for the hospitality and leisure grants.
Let’s hope it will be enough for the situation to resolve itself!