“The Chancellor must treat meetings, events and accommodation sector businesses as a special exception and immediately extend the 80 per cent furlough payment and business rates reduction until at least the end of July. Businesses in the sector need this to help them survive the four-week delay in reopening.
“While safety comes first, this delay comes just as CBILS repayments commence, business rates and rents are due, furlough payment contributions by employers are increasing and many staff are expected back from furlough.
“HBAA is continuing to shine a light on our industry by highlighting what is a vital and unique cashflow issue. Unlike bars, restaurants and many other hospitality businesses that will immediately have extra cash in their tills as soon as they are fully open once more, many agencies and venues will have very little income until September or beyond before clients pay their invoices - but before then they will have to pay rent, rates and salaries for staff organising meetings and events. This comes on top of many months of delayed income from postponements and cancellations.
“Very few, if any other sectors, face this financial issue. An extension to the 80 per cent furlough payment and continued business rates relief would, for many, make a crucial difference to their survival for another month and beyond.
“That’s why, in line with the revised reopening roadmap, the Chancellor should give a special exemption and specific financial support to the meetings, events and accommodation sector for its unique circumstances and issues.
Bookings on hold
“In addition, this postponement is delaying the confirmation of hundreds of meetings and event bookings. Research carried out by Venue Performance for HBAA indicates that the average revenue expected between 21 June and the end of September for a London meetings and events venue is £500,000.
“Speaking to HBAA members and contacts across the industry, we are being told that many event planners are waiting for the remaining restrictions to be lifted before they will sign contracts. This continued uncertainty is adding further pressure on their ability to plan their resources and finances.”