Westside BID backs new call for Government aid to save live events industry

Westside BID is backing a warning from business leaders that the live events industry faces “total collapse” without immediate financial support.

Paul Thandi, chief executive of NEC Group, has joined fellow senior live music and events figures in writing an open letter to The Times calling for urgent Government intervention to save the events sector.

Other signatories include Glastonbury co-organiser Emily Eavis, DF Concerts CEO Geoff Ellis, artistic and commercial director of the Royal Albert Hall Lucy Noble, and chairman of the Concert Promoters Association Phil Bowdery.

Westside BID General Manager Mike Olley said it was vital that the Government recognised the financial plight of the live events industry and heeded warnings from its leaders.

He added: “Here at Westside, we recognise the challenges that businesses have undertaken as a direct result of the COVID 19 pandemic. We stand with Paul Thandi and all the individuals who are urging for Government intervention to help aid the swift recovery of the live events sector.”

The letter to The Times newspaper said: “The UK is a world leader in staging events and exports this skill across the world. However, the total collapse of this sector is imminent.

“The £1.57bn culture recovery fund does not reach most supply companies. A £100bn industry will not operate without support for 600,000 freelancers and staff.”

“The events industry desperately needs government-backed insurance for live events. A three-year extension to the 5% cultural VAT rate on tickets has been recommended by the culture select committee and must be implemented at once.

“Without immediate support, the supply chain will not exist to stage events. The consequence of this will be a slower bounce back for all; one sell-out full capacity night of live music in Birmingham would generate £3m for the local economy.

“We urge the government to acknowledge the size and value of the live events industry and the immediate support needed for these skilled freelancers, employees and businesses.”

Other signatories to the letter included veteran promoter Harvey Goldsmith, AEG Europe CEO Alex Hill, SJM Concerts managing director Simon Moran and ASM Global executive vice president John Sharkey.

The letter follows Mr Thandi’s plea in July for an extension of the furlough scheme and support those industries that cannot turn their revenues back on within days or weeks of reopening.

The NEC Group operates five venues across the Birmingham area, attracting over seven million people each year and contributing an estimated £2bn to the local economy.

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