The #WeMakeEvents campaign group staged a silent protest in London’s Parliament Square on Tuesday, ahead of a global day of action planned for Wednesday 30th September.
Hundreds turned out for the ‘Stand As One’ protest outside Westminster to call on the government for more sector-specific support for the events industry, following criticism of the new Job Support Scheme.
Under the new scheme, which kicks in at the end of October (when the furlough scheme ends), the government will top up the wages of those working reduced hours. However, with the events industry all but shutdown and verging on the brink of collapse, unemployed workers with little hope of returning to work in an industry unable to reopen in the coming months are not eligible for support.
To compound the situation, the government’s new (and ill-thought-out) 10pm curfew has heaped unnecessary pressure on the night time economy and caused many Covid-safe, socially-distanced events across the country to be cancelled.
“With the increased restrictions that have been announced, it looks unlikely that we will be able to return to work in a financially viable way within the next six months,” says a #WeMakeEvents statement.
“This means that the majority of businesses in our sector will not be able to generate sufficient revenue to support their contribution towards employees’ salaries, nor will they be able to contract in the huge self-employed community within the industry.”
In the UK specifically, campaigners are asking the government to provide a sector-specific insurance scheme; to support widespread testing for event attendees; a three-year extension to the reduced VAT rate on tickets; grants (not loans) made available to events businesses; and a 'specific job support scheme for live events supply chain until the government guidelines change on social distancing to allow a commercially viable return to work'.
Representing an estimated 30 million event industry workers in 25 countries, the global day of action on 30th September will see buildings lit red in alert and socially-distanced demonstrations take place.
Thousands turned out for the first #WeMakeEvents protest in Manchester in August, which was followed by similar demonstrations in countries including the United States, Germany, Spain and France.
You can find out more about the #WeMakeEvents movement here.