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Associations move to clarify what new measures mean for event firms

The Events Industry Alliance (EIA) has said it is seeking to clarify whether or not new support measures announced by the chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak will apply to businesses in the events industry.

The EIA, a coalition between the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), Association of Event Venues (AEV) and the Event Services Suppliers Association (ESSA), released a joint statement saying that it is “vital” events businesses, which have been forced to be closed since March, are included in the new measures.

The statement read: “The chancellor rightly recognises that viable businesses impacted by government closure decisions need targeted support, however, exhibition [and other event] companies have been forced to close since March and it is vital that they too are able to access these measures. We are seeking urgent clarity from the Government as to whether these measures will be applicable to the events sector, as without targeted support we will see over 90,000 jobs lost in the coming weeks.”

Prime minister Boris Johnson is this week expected to announce further restrictions on hospitality businesses, which will see the introduction of a three-tier system imposed regionally. This would see certain businesses within these affected areas forced to close, either partially or fully.

There remains concern that the wording of the new legislation would result in further ambiguity, and would see support measures such as the new Job Support Scheme only be available to those operating hospitality premises, rather than those working in the organization and supply of event services, which is worth £84bn to the UK annually.

Also announced by the chancellor, businesses that are forced to close in England have been promised easier access to business grants, with up to £3,000 a month paid every fortnight.

Andy Chamberlain, director of policy at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), expressed dismay at the latest round of support measures, saying that the self-employed had been “excluded”. He said: “The new support for employees and businesses in local lockdowns is the right move, but it is dismaying to see the self-employed excluded yet again from the Government’s thinking.