The letter in full is published below:
The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP
10 Downing Street
16th March 2020
Dear Prime Minister,
We are writing to you to request further financial assistance for the UK events industry at this critical time. You will have seen the petition calling for such assistance, which at the time of writing stands at 110,000 signatories.
The events industry is worth £70bn to the UK annually, and directly employs approximately 700,000 people. *
As the world faces an unprecedented health emergency in the face of Covid-19, the events industry is all too aware of its social responsibilities, and largely accepts the temporary suspension of mass gatherings is an inevitable measure in the public’s interest.
The events industry is united in the view that the health and safety of the public is the number one priority, and that all reasonable measures should be taken to preserve life. However, the industry at large will be expected to shut down almost in its entirety for an as-yet unspecified duration, putting many out of business and many more out of work.
As the leading trade press publisher dedicated solely to serving the events industry, we are calling for the industry to have access to:
- Emergency funding and easing of tax obligations for venues and organisers of events impacted by the outbreak of Covid-19 to cover costs of affected suppliers and daily operations (such as staff salaries) during a period of no income;
- The postponement of the introduction of the changes to the IR35 legislation to make it easier for the thousands of freelance events professionals currently not working.
The events industry has struggled with a clear identity in the face of both the government and the public for a number of years. The perception that the events ‘industry’ only serves festivals and weddings is incorrect. Meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) are all crucial in supporting other industries.
When the nation emerges from this crisis, it is clear that all industrial sectors will need to rebuild their confidence. Events will be a major facilitator of this and are a critical component in the rebuilding of both regional and national economies. We dare not lose this expertise and capacity.
We are asking for help so that there will be skilled events personnel and a fully functioning supply chain there on the other side when we need it. We will work in solidarity with all events industry trade associations to ensure you have all the information required to mitigate this crisis. You can surely count on our industry’s support in that endeavour. It is full of people used to crisis management.
We note also creative programmes of emergency state support have been announced by the European Union, Denmark and Australia in the past couple of days, recognising that the events industry is something to be protected with great care.
Mash Media (publishers of Exhibition News, Conference News, Exhibition World, Conference & Meetings World, and Access All Areas, and organisers of International Confex and the Event Production Show)
*Source: Business Visits and Events Partnership (figures accepted by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Events).