HBAA/beam calls for government support
The business events sector is now looking forward to January with trepidation, says Beckie Towle, marketing director of HBAA/beam.
"With so many events being cancelled or postponed, how much work will we have to keep us afloat?”, she says.
“We desperately need to know whether the intensive rapid booster campaign and the common sense of the British public will halt the rise of Omicron so that confidence returns to our industry?
"The business events sector has already lost millions of pounds worth of bookings for December and January. If that continues, we will have potentially little work after Christmas, so government support will be crucial to the survival of many businesses. But the schemes that kept businesses alive during the pandemic have ended or are winding down," she adds.
The Scottish Government announced a £100m financial package will be made available for eligible businesses including the hospitality sector that have lost bookings during this key trading period.
Considering this, Towle says: "We need the other UK Governments to provide the same help in addition to the continuation of the reduced rate of VAT and the Kickstart Scheme, our Plan B for Events. We need to know before the end of the year, otherwise the start of 2022 is going to be a bleak midwinter.”
“We appreciate the government’s efforts to keep ‘business as usual’. But, for corporate organisations planning events, ‘business as usual’ along with a directive to work from home is a mixed message."
They must consider their duty of care to their staff while facing charges if they cancel the event, she says, as the costs are very unlikely to be covered by the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme.
Since 15 December, cover must be purchased no less than eight weeks before the event is due to occur.
"Many insurance policies are also expensive and won’t cover against Covid.
“Corporate event planners are facing a challenging dilemma that is likely to be costly for everyone, for venues and event suppliers as well as their own businesses," she concludes.