UK trade fair industry warns 30,000 jobs at risk as events yet to resume

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Workers cross London Bridge during the morning rush hour in London

(Reuters) – Britain’s event organisers, venues and suppliers warned that about 30,000 jobs are at risk due to increased uncertainty about when trade fairs and exhibitions could resume in the UK, an industry body said on Monday.

The Events Industry Alliance (EIA), an industry body that represents the UK events sector, said companies would need at least eight to twelve weeks to restart exhibitions, calling on the government to set a date for reopening.

The coronavirus outbreak and the ensuing lockdown led to widespread cancellations and postponement of events to later this year or until 2021. The threat of a second wave of COVID-19 cases triggered further uncertainty about reopening plans worldwide.

“The exhibitions sector is a vital enabler of economic activity in almost every sector of the UK economy and failure to provide a go-live date impacts the ability of almost 180,000 businesses to recover,” said Chris Skeith, chief executive officer, Association of Event Organisers.

An estimated 60% of the sector’s supply chain will not reopen in October, when the government’s job-supporting furlough scheme ends, the EIA added.

Britain’s finance ministry had said it spent more than 25 billion pounds ($30.72 billion) on a furlough programme that is supporting 9.3 million jobs.

Earlier this month, the ministry also promised an additional 30 billion pounds to head off an unemployment crisis, funnelling money to employers, homebuyers and beleaguered hospitality firms to drive a recovery.

Informa (L:), the world’s biggest exhibitions organiser, held its first major event, the China Beauty Expo, in Shanghai this month.

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