UK meetings industry: “Funds need to be readily accessible and realistic for the long-term”

The leadership of the influential UK group MIA (Meetings Industry Association) has responded to Chancellor Rishi Sunak’S speech outlining government measures to support businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Jane Longhurst, chief executive of MIA, said:  “Following the devastating effects of the Prime Minister’s speech yesterday and the reaction from our members, our sector was forced into making crisis and damaging decisions today such as reductions of staff, services and closures.

Jane Longhurst

“We are grateful that the Chancellor has recognised and is finally listening to our industry’s challenges – in particular, in response to our request to provide short-term rate relief for all businesses, not just those with rateable values of less than GBP 51,000. It is good that he will also now be standing behind both small and large-sized organisations – which make up a large part of our industry.

“The government’s support for businesses through the coming months are short-term measures”

“The people packages go some way to supporting the continuous employment of our valued teams. Our industry has already suffered from the reeling outcomes of Brexit, so our focus must now also be on the retention of a talented workforce to provide the highest standards and profitable service to the events world.

“But, the government’s support for businesses through the coming months are short-term measures, which are based on the provision of loans that will still need repaying. Instead, funds need to be readily accessible and realistic for the long-term. His messages were also clouded in ambiguity in relation to mass gatherings.

MIA will continue to apply pressure to ensure the business event sector can bounce back in a timely manner from this pandemic and that the government delivers on its promise ‘to do whatever it takes’.”

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