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Meetings Industry Association calls on Government to clarify funding definitions

The Meetings Industry Association (mia) has called on the Government to provide clarity in response to the announcement of financial support from the chancellor of the exchequer, 5 January.

Jane Longhurst (pictured), chief executive of the mia, expressed concern that the much events business has now been stalled beyond Q3 in 2021, and added that the Government should clarify whether or not its definition of retail, hospitality and leisure includes the events industry, or if event businesses are to try and convince Local Authorities to support them via the £594m discretionary funding.

“While the highly-documented rise in Covid-19 cases left many expecting the worst over the festive period, the industry is now faced with the fact that business will be stalled well beyond Q3 2021,” said Longhurst.

“We understand that the Government had no choice but to tighten the restrictions but as a sector we now need immediate intervention to support the business meetings and events industry which is unable to operate in a sustainable way to generate essential revenue.

“While today’s package of financial support from the chancellor has been announced with the expressed intention of sustaining jobs, we once again need clarification on whether the business meetings and events sector is absorbed within the government’s definition of ‘Retail, Hospitality and Leisure’ or is the sector once again being left to navigate its way through the discretionary fund process.”

Longhurst again has called on the Government to consider a more targeted support package and extend the Job Retention Scheme. She said: “Having demonstrated our concerns to Government throughout the course of the pandemic, including the harrowing impact upon redundancies, business cancellations and future event bookings, we are urging government to provide a specific package of support for the sector and extend its Job Retention Scheme to the end of Q3. Only this will provide employers with a viable means of retaining their workforce and preventing a surge in unemployment.

“We will be continuing our lobbying work and communicating directly with Government departments to outline the ongoing impact on our industry and the consequential support that is required.”