Munira has called on the Government to provide more support to the events and exhibition industry, which has faced profound challenges during Covid-19.
This is following local businesses and organisations writing to Munira about the financial hardship they have been experiencing.
The Prime Minister has confirmed that conferences and exhibitions will be permitted in England from 1st October 2020 (depending on Covid-19 prevalence data). Some will be struggling to financially stay viable before this time however.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Munira said:
“Hon. Members have raised the challenge facing the exhibitions and events industry, which is worth £70 billion a year to the UK economy, and provides 700,000 jobs.
Organisations in my constituency such as Easyfairs UK, which employs 100 people, are really suffering. It was one of the first sectors to shut down, and will be one of the last to come out of lockdown.
The industry has shed 20% of its direct workforce, with many more job cuts—potentially 60,000—to come in the exhibition space alone. It desperately needs further financial support, particularly as the furlough scheme ends in October.
While we have been given hope by the Prime Minister that some of those events could get going again, it is the sort of industry that needs quite a lot of lead time for buyers and sellers and the setting up of those events.
Rightly, the October date is contingent on coronavirus prevalence data, as well as pilot events, but it would be helpful to have a slightly earlier indication on whether the industry could open up sooner, because it has worked with the Government to put in place a lot of covid-secure arrangements.
The industry is known for its work on health and safety, so I urge the Government to look at that again. It relies a great deal on freelancers and the self-employed, and we have heard many times in the Chamber about the number of people who have been left out of the scheme.”