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HBAA/beam asks Chancellor to include Plan B4E to support events industry

HBAA, the industry association soon to be known as beam, has called for the Chancellor to include ‘Plan B4E’ in his Autumn Statement.

Plan B4E will support the business events, accommodation and meetings sector if the Government introduces its Plan B to suppress the spread of Covid-19 in the coming weeks.

Simon Richards (pictured), treasurer of HBAA, said: “We know from bitter experience in early 2020 that the live events sector will immediately suffer substantial financial issues and jobs will come under threat as soon as there is a strong suggestion that we should work from home and that social distancing and compulsory mask wearing be reintroduced. Live events will quickly become commercially less viable and more likely to return to virtual as fewer delegates are allowed in the room and many choose not to travel and attend in person.

“It will not be a short term hit; the industry will feel the consequences of this well into 2022 if event planners lose the confidence to commit to live events and to meetings taking place early next year. A knock-back like this would be a disaster for the hundreds of agencies, venues and service providers who are just starting to recover after struggling to survive over the last 18 months."

He added: “This time the industry needs Plan B4E, advance notice of what the Chancellor will do to support the industry if Plan B is introduced so that, unlike in 2020, the help is available immediately not several weeks after the industry has already started to suffer the consequences. To know now that the reduced level of VAT paid by the sector will continue beyond April 2022 would be valuable for financial planning. Extending the Kick Start scheme in terms of both application dates and end dates would encourage and help employers to retain new staff aged 18 to 24 even if business is reduced.

“After recently recruiting and training new staff, a short-term return of the furlough scheme or something similar would once again help protect jobs and help the live events industry to survive. The business events industry needs ‘Plan B4E’ from the Chancellor to save jobs that will be under threat as soon as Plan B is imminent. HBAA – beam - believes it is vital to shine a light on this issue at this stage not to wait until it is too late.”