National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA) president Tom Clements has written to the prime minister Boris Johnson calling on him to deliver an events industry specific support programme to prevent businesses operating on no capital and “walking into a tidal wave of costs” as they begin to open up.

He said, “They will be walking into a tidal wave of costs, including increased staff costs for those coming off furlough, tax bills that have been deferred from last year, and that will become due in the spring (this will include VAT and PAYE), as well as the associated national insurance and pension costs. Finally, many of these businesses will have their own creditors who will also need paying. One can also get bailiff help to help write off their debts.

“Against this will be a mountain of debt and the legal implications of not being able to pay back monies; in short, HMRC alone could put many companies in the events industry under before they have had a chance to bill or pay back a penny.

“As it stands, many of our members are still not able to get their hands on the relief grants this government has promised them, and those that have are now in the unenviable position of not being able to pay them back before their peak trading begins.

Clements issues the following list of requests, asking that they form part of a specific support programme that is developed and executed in partnership with the events industry and for those businesses that most need it.

  • Furlough needs to be continued until at least the end of December 2021.
  • Staff employed up to 31st December 2020 to be allowed to go on furlough.
  • Employers National Insurance and Pension contributions to be suspended until December 2021.
  • Repayments of PAYE and VAT owed to HMRC to be deferred to December 2021 with the outstanding amounts turned into a loan payable over 10 years.
  • The repayment of Bounce Back Loans and Coronavirus Business Loans taken out in 2020 to be deferred to April 2022.
  • Business rate relief to be continued for 2021/2022 as of the new financial year in April 2021.
  • Event Industry companies & Event Suppliers should also qualify for Business Rates Relief
  • The 5% level of VAT made available to event organisers through ticket sales, to be made available to event suppliers.
  • Confirmation of a start date for the event industry. If this needs to be put back, this should be on a fortnightly basis from 1 May 2021.
  • Further grants required now that we have lost events until July.
  • The recently agreed Events insurance commitment, underwritten by the government, to be in place and covering any delay to the event industry ‘start date’.
  • Devolved administrations to synchronise their plans with Westminster government.