UK events industry ‘on its knees’ with 60 percent of suppliers to collapse within 12 weeks

The UK’s event industry is facing a major collapse as the coronavirus continues to shut down the entire country.

Around 60 per cent of suppliers are set to fold within three months unless event businesses receive further support from the government, according to an online survey by the Events Industry Forum, Business Visits and Events Partnership and Production Services Association. Of those businesses, 6 per cent said they are unlikely to make it to the end of the month.

Three quarters of all conferences and exhibitions have been postponed to the last quarter of 2020 and the remainder cancelled altogether.

“With so many events already cancelled and no certainty about when they will be able to start again, our industry is on its knees,” said Jim Winship, secretary of the Events Industry Forum.

“We urgently need the government to confirm to local authorities that all event organisers and suppliers to our industry are eligible for the hospitality and leisure grants – that will give an immediate lifeline for many.”

Currently only 1 per cent of respondents had been successful in applying for the government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

“While it is starting to be recognised by some in government circles that the event industry will be a key player in helping to kick-start the economy again, many will need on-going support until they can get back on their feet,” said Winship.

“For this they will need further grants and better access to loans without having to give onerous personal guarantees.”

Business Visits and Events Partnership chairman Michael Hirst said the UK is in danger of losing its ability to stage world-class events.

“The UK has some of the best companies and contractors in the world supplying the needs of its events industry – an industry which will revitalise the nation’s economy and communities when the crisis is over,” he said.

“Hopefully its findings will underline the desperate need to provide more support to sustain the industry’s suppliers and contractors until they can start operating again.”