Supply chain support sadly side-lined

Outdoor events contribute over £30 billion in Gross Added Value to the UK economy and generate considerable commercial value to others in the communities where they take place. The Southampton Boat Show, for example, generates over £30 million in sales annually for local businesses in Hampshire.

EIF have put to Government arguments for supporting the outdoor event industry and particularly the supply chains that enable it to operate. Sadly, Government have rejected this industry’s appeals. They have supported many other sectors of the economy but not event suppliers.

Jim Winship, Secretary of EIF said, “The conclusion one reaches is that while supporting front line businesses is popular politics as it is understood by the public, supply chains are hidden and, therefore, expendable. Yet, as every military strategist knows, unless supply chains are maintained one stands little chance of winning a war”.

The events industry of course welcomes the VAT cut to 5% for tickets sales and the extension in the furlough scheme but despite repeatedly highlighting the need to support our supply chains through this pandemic crisis, the Government has persistently ignored them. Our industry faces coming out of lockdown with the frontline event businesses inadequately supported which will severely hamper their ability to operate.

It has also been reported that with some local authorities getting cold feet about events taking place and commercial insurers refusing to cover cancellations related in any way to the pandemic, events face a perfect storm. At a time when outdoor events could be making a major contribution to kick starting the economy, once again the season is looking less likely to get going until late summer at best and only then if insurance is in place.

Steve Heap, Chair of EIF said, “After a whole year of campaigns, lobbying of Government and working hard to try and hold out valuable industry together we are disappointed Government does not yet see the clear tax advantage of supporting an industry that provides employment for some 589,000 people in the UK.

“Outdoor event organisers are used to risk, are creative and resilient, we just need Government to recognise this, and we will play our part in getting the UK back on its feet”.

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