Event suppliers need urgent clarity over UK government funding, industry association Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) has said. It has welcomed the recognition from the UK government that current Covid restrictions and a lack of confidence is causing a serious impact on companies beyond retail, leisure and hospitality.
The government has promised a £100m (US$135m) boost to the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund for local authorities in England. However, continued speculation surrounding government restrictions and subsequent breakdown in business confidence continues to severely impact the business events industry and in particular those suppliers who are the vital pillars to events throughout the UK.
Andrew Harrison (pictured), ESSA director, said: “The government has continued to suggest New Year restrictions which breeds further instability in our sector and means that further postponements of quarter one events will be inevitable particularly for business events. The events supply chain will, therefore, once again be required to dig deep into their reserves of resolve to prevent any further losses of personnel and their businesses but having already done this for the past 22 months, reserves for many are at an all-time low or have simply gone.
“Despite listening to the needs of all the industries impacted by speculation and Plan B restrictions, we need urgent clarity around eligibility and access to grants and financial support. We ask for speed, ease and clarity around the allocation of funds and support to ensure our sector can at least cover some of their ongoing costs into early quarter one of 2022.
“We are acutely aware of the current financial challenges that suppliers are facing, and from ongoing research being conducted by the Tourism Alliance we understand that almost three-quarters of industry suppliers have less than two months of financial reserves left to bail them out of the returning blockage on business.
“We now urge the government to share the detail swiftly so we can support our members in gaining access to these vital funds. Expeditious distribution of these funds is more important now than ever before.
“Our resilience and resolve is being greatly tested but as a community of exceptional businesses we are yet again ready to champion our sector and are determined to make it through this next challenge.
“We want to remain open and trading and as a sector we’ve proven the case for running safe events since we were permitted to do so in the summer. We believe government understands this.”