Exhibitions sector could lose 80% of jobs without help - report
Trade show organisers and event companies have warned that the UK exhibitions sector could shed over 90,0000 jobs in the coming weeks if the government’s support is not extended.
In a letter sent to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, industry leaders raised their concerns over the “existential threat” faced by the sector.
Hyve Group, which owns fashion trade shows including Pure London, Jacket Required, Moda and Scoop, is among the signatories urging the Government to create a new support package.
It comes after Boris Johnson announced last week that the planned return of consumer shows and exhibitions from 1 October has been scrapped following a rise in Covid-19 cases across the UK. Conferences and trade shows will not be allowed to run for at least six months.
“Britain’s events sector employs around 600,000 people, with the exhibitions sector alone supporting some 114,000 of those jobs. Although nearly 60% of events and exhibitions businesses benefitted from the government’s job retention scheme, its forthcoming cessation will leave the sector, its employees and the communities in which it operates in uniquely exposed, having been one of the only sectors not allowed to reopen during the summer,” the letter signed by the Event Industry Alliance (EIA) said.
“The Events Industry Alliance (EIA) anticipates that 80% of the exhibitions sector workforce (consisting of events suppliers, organisers and venues), over 90,000 people, will be made redundant in the coming weeks due to continued event closures and the inability of their employers to access the new Job Support Scheme as they are not able to trade at all during the time and therefore will have no income to pay employees.”
The trade body insisted the sector is not unviable, although it asked for further support to survive until events can be resumed. Before Covid-19, the industry contributed some £70bn of economic impact to the UK, with trade shows and consumer exhibitions contributing about £11bn.
The sector also supports a further 180,000 small and medium-sized businesses, many of whom rely on trade shows to meet customers and generate sales.
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