More than 90,000 jobs at risk, events companies warn

The events sector has warned the Government that 90,000 jobs will be lost in the coming weeks if it fails to provide further financial support.

In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, 334 companies in the events and exhibitions industry said they face an “existential threat” after ministers decided to close events for another six months.

The group, including the NEC, ExCeL London and the O2, called for an urgent package of support measures.

“The Prime Minister’s announcement last week means that the once vibrant and growing UK events industry has been closed by the Government, and this is certain to have catastrophic employment consequences across the UK,” they wrote.

The Events Industry Alliance estimates that four in five of the 114,000 people who work in the exhibitions sector will be made redundant when businesses lose access to furlough support and are still unable to reopen.

Companies will simply “have no income to pay employees”, the letter states.

The letter was also sent to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who said in March that he would do “whatever it takes” to support the economy.

The Government has thrown tens of billions of pounds at furlough and loan schemes to help businesses survive the Covid-19 crisis.

But, as support is phased out, many sectors where business is not returning face an uncertain future.

The letter asked the Prime Minister and Chancellor to support what it called a “hibernation package” for the events industry.

It would include a wage subsidy scheme which recognises that the industry is closed because of Government restrictions, more loans to businesses in the sector, and regular reviews of whether it is safe to reopen.