A number of trade associations from across the events sector are calling on the government to provide greater support for the sector in light of the coronavirus outbreak, which continues to threaten businesses and livelihoods.
The #EventsForTheFuture initiative is a collaboration between the Association for British Theatre Technicians (ABTT), the Professional Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA), Production Services Association (PSA), the Society Of London Theatres (SOLT), and UK Theatre, which together represent over 3,000 businesses and individuals. The aim is to lobby the government to provide more support to the events sector and help increase its chances of surviving the pandemic.
Bryan Raven, managing director of WhiteLight, who coordinated the meetings, commented: “Through collective action we believe we can get the voice of the industry heard; it has been great to see these Associations working together on a common cause.”
The associations are asking anyone working in the industry to write to their local MP to campaign for further support using sample letters available on the ABTT, PLASA, PSA and SOLT websites. The letters should be customised before sending out to highlight an individual’s particular situation.
The main objectives for Government support are to:
- Immediately make it clear to local authorities that, as part of the supply chain, the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant is open to this industry.
- Remove the £51,000 limit depending on regional variances. Many companies are located in London or major cities and this blanket ceiling across the UK is unfair.
- Reduce the financial burden of running a business by offering other forms of recovery grants on cost of commercial rent, lease payments, insurance and business rates, tax breaks and request the banks give longer mortgage holidays to businesses in our sector. The Government needs to understand offering loans is not enough as there is no certainty.
- Allow extension of The Furlough Scheme, which has been an essential lifeline for us and all employers in our sector to retain highly skilled staff, and which should remain for companies in sectors where the recovery is in the longer term, such as the Events, Performing Arts, Entertainment Technology, TV & Film Sectors.
- Extend the term of support for self-employed subcontractors. Our sector’s workforce is made up of 72 per cent self-employed freelancers and without the right support, we are in danger of losing our workforce to other sectors, widening an already apparent skills gap.
The associations are also encouraging people to complete two Government surveys, the Department of Culture Media and Sport’s (DCMS) call for evidence, and the DCMS impact assessment.