The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) has today submitted a budget request to the Treasury ahead of the planned budget announcement on 3rd March 2021, in an effort to secure long term targeted support to aid the recovery of the industry.
While prior to the pandemic, business visits and events contributed £70 billion to the UK economy in terms of visitor spend, representing over 50% of all tourism spend, over the past year, the major activities of the industry have been severely impacted by COVID-19 due to an almost total lack of ability to operate since the start of the pandemic. It is projected that annual revenues will be down by approximately £55 billion and around 434,000 jobs will have been lost across the entire industry.
Simon Hughes, Chair, BVEP said: “2020 was an incredibly tough year with the entire industry coming to a standstill. Sadly, we have seen a large number of our talented colleagues lose their jobs and a number of businesses and venues close their doors for good. The stark reality is that 76% of all event businesses only have enough funds to keep afloat until the end of next month.”
The BVEP and its members are asking the Government to consider the following support schemes to protect the UK events industry:
- Extension of existing schemes relating to business rates relief and furlough for 12 months
- Support to the events supply chain and freelancers
- Extension of VAT cut for 12 months
- An Event Recovery fund to sustain the cash flow of event businesses
- Capital allowances for improvements to venue premises to ameliorate social distancing costs
- Tax incentives for technology investment for online meetings and broadcast installations
- A Government backed insurance indemnity scheme to cover upfront investment costs in staging events
- Tax allowance for upfront production and start-up costs for new events
- Increase in the exemption for the annual staff parties
Hughes added: “We are submitting these budget requests to the Government so it can provide some much needed support, similar to what it has done to aid the recovery of other businesses. It is crucial that the Government acts quickly so the industry can work on its road to recovery and avoids any further business closures.”
The Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP, Chair of the APPG for Events commented; “There is an urgent need to help the events sector survive the long shutdown caused by Covid. This part of our economy is hugely important in helping to generate trade, investment and exports for the UK. Many highly successful businesses are on the brink of collapse after a year with their doors effectively closed. I hope Ministers will find a way to tide them over so that when lockdown starts to be eased, they are ready to start putting on world class, conferences, events, exhibitions, festivals and trade fairs.”
Further updates from the BVEP can be found on its website here.