The mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, alongside senior business leaders from the city, is calling upon the government to provide an urgent timeline for the return of business events.
In a letter to the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, the senior leaders call for immediate action to address the “existential threat” to the continued viability of the city’s multi-billion pound visitor economy.
Mayor Anderson, alongside Max Steinberg, chair of the city’s waterfront conference and exhibition facility, ACC Liverpool and Marcus Magee, chair of the Liverpool Hospitality Association, have jointly signed the letter which sets out the ongoing danger to a sector which is worth over £3.3bn a year, contributes 48% of business rates and supports 38,000 jobs across Liverpool.
With recovery plans already in place for the retail, hospitality and cultural sector, the letter concludes that business events also need urgent support, guidance and a similar recovery plan from government.
If no start date is made available in the next seven days, the leaders go on to add their support to the BVEP’s (Business Visits and Events Partnership) call for a significant and sector specific Recovery Fund to be created, to help kick-start and rebuild the events industry over the next three years.
In the letter, the mayor and businesses leaders call on the chancellor for clarity on the government’s policy to revive the UK’s £70bn conference and events industry, adding:
“As the government sets out its strategy to rebuild Britain and fuel economic recovery across the UK, we urge you to recognise the role that business events can play in helping achieve this goal.
“After the temporary respite of the much-welcomed furlough scheme, the reality of the scale of the impact of Covid-19 on the business events industry is now becoming apparent. In Liverpool, thousands of jobs hang in the balance unnecessarily. Business events are not mass gatherings; they are highly controlled and managed. The ability to enforce additional safety measures is straightforward and we know from discussing with a range of relevant businesses in the sector that their plans far exceed the requirements currently placed on the retail and hospitality sector.
“We are calling on you to set out a clear set of dates for a return to conference and business events, in order to allow this critical sector in the economy of Liverpool to begin to plan how it will survive this existential threat to its continued viability.
“We can only write this letter on behalf of Liverpool, but know we reflect the views of cities up and down the country as well as a sector that as a whole is worth £70 billion to the UK economy. All we are looking for is a timeline we can all begin to work to. We look forward to a swift response and are ready to work alongside you to help resolve this situation and in doing so save thousands of jobs across our city.”
View the full letter here.