AEO - Association of event organisers

Hope with hesitance – The AEO on the budget update


Hope with hesitance – The AEO on the budget update

18 Mar 2020

Our CEO, Chris Skeith, has reported on the government's recent £330bn cash boost for businesses affected by COVID-19.

“As I listened to the Chancellor outlining the £330bn emergency rescue package for the UK I was filled with hope and hesitation. We still await confirmation that the measures reported in last week’s budget are applicable to the events industry, so when again, no reference was made to our sector in this announcement, things did not appear to be as hopeful as I’d wished

“Even before the end of the briefing, I’d written to all of my contacts within government to seek some reassurance that organisers, venues, suppliers, freelancers are in scope. There was much debate last night in the house.  This is hopeful but we need to hear it directly; we need to have it spelt out.  We need the government to hear us and clearly reference our wonderful but compromised industry.

“We’ve long reported the scale of the exhibitions part of the events industry in the UK (almost 1,100 trade and consumer events taking place annually, contributing £11bn to the UK economy via the participation of 9.1 million visitors and 178,000 exhibitors (20% being international)). In addition, of the 84 AEO members, 23 alone organise over 1,000 overseas events from UK headquarters; bringing some £2.1bn turnover into the UK economy, and putting them in the Top 10 Service Exporters.

“To give you some sense of the impact the government announcements and recommendations will have on the UK economy: holding no exhibitions in April, May and June would cost the economy some £3bn. This is a conservative estimate and doesn’t include the onward impact to the supply chains of the markets that the events serve.

“Whilst the £330bn rescue plan announced yesterday is welcomed, I’m sure it will help many, but the devil is in the detail and in an environment when circumstances change hour by hour, more will need to be done. Businesses big and small need help now, they need to support their staff, their contractors, their freelancers.  Access to funds, relief payments, payment deferrals etc all need to be actioned in hours and days, not weeks.

“We are an industry that fuels travel, tourism, hotels, restaurants and bars. We ignite business in the markets served by the events we create, which has a knock-on effect on their supply chains across the UK and the World. We need clear and direct support now, to ensure our people, our businesses and our industry is in a fit state to help kick start the economy post COVID-19.”


Budget update:

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has pledged a further £330bn to help businesses survive financial hardship during the outbreak.

“The government will stand behind businesses small and large. I can announce today an unprecedented package of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses to get through this. Today I’m making available an initial £330bn, equivalent to 15% of our GDP.

“That means any business has access to cash to pay their rent, their salaries, their suppliers or to purchase stock will be able to access a government backed loan or credit on attractive terms. And if demand is greater than the initial £330bn I’m making available today, I will go further and provide as much capacity as required.”

The support will come through two main schemes:

  • A New lending facility agreed with the Bank of England
  • Extending the new business interruption loan scheme for small businesses increasing borrowing potential from £1.2m to £5m

Both schemes will be up and running by the start of next week.

  • "Broadway Events joined the AEO on the Enterprise Membership. We’ve already taken advantage of the many benefits including the excellent FaceTime Masterclasses and training guides for exhibitors."
    Emma Barrett
    Broadway Events
  • "We are a member of the AEO because it is a proactive association for the events industry. As an organiser it provides us with high value ideas, networking, guidance and information."
    David Harrison
    PPMA Group
  • "This year, the association has led working groups to address industry issues and put on some amazing events full of insightful content for both organisers and, through the AEOs FaceTime initiative, exhibitors. In addition, the AEO has represented the industry at a Governmental level to raise awareness of the importance of events to the UK economy."
    Paul Byrom
    Upper Street Events
  • "I genuinely believe that if you’re involved in organising events you should become a member of the AEO."
    Simon Kimble
    Clarion Events
  • "Our membership of the AEO represents real and tangible value for UBM - it provides fantastic networking opportunities, practical training for our team as well as valuable insight into the state of our industry."
    Simon Parker
    Informa Markets
  • "As an Association business, we appreciate the excellent work the secretariat of the AEO do for our community. From the events side of our business, the AEO provides an excellent return on investment, providing thought leadership, fantastic networking, brilliant awards, excellent research and FaceTime, a valuable tool to tell our markets why exhibitions and events should be an essential part of the marketing mix."
    Neil Felton
  • "AEO’s networking and member meetings are valuable for individuals at all levels within our organisation. The promotion of our sector to the outside world, to government, authorities and business at large is another vital aspect of the AEO’s purpose for members, many of whom, like my company, work on events throughout the world."
    Stephen Brooks
    Mack Brooks Exhibitions
  • “Knowledge is power and the AEO dinners are certainly powerful, there is always a wealth of knowledge at the table. Insightful presentations make for a constructive and extremely social way to learn from the experts who’ve done it before. I attended the Japanese evening and gained really valuable insight about the culture and how best to communicate with a local audience.”
    John Whitaker
    Vice President Marketing, Data & Digital , dmg events
  • "We have the opportunity to contribute positively to the industry as well as gaining valuable insight and advice. There’s no need to spend valuable time and money reinventing the wheel when you have so many experienced professionals in AEO membership to learn from”
    Emma Cartmell
    CHS Group
  • "JOINING THE AEO HAS BEEN FANTASTIC! Being able to gift our customers with free places at the FaceTime masterclasses, learn alongside industry peers and seek advice to common challenges is invaluable”
    Sharon Azam
    GovNet Communications
  • I just wanted to send my most sincere thanks for everything that you and the AEO team are doing to help navigate the events industry through the pandemic. The working groups and communication from the AEO have been excellent and I’m really appreciative of being part of such a wonderful organisation.
    Simon Burns
    ICHF Events
  • I think what the AEO has been doing during this tough time has been exceptional.
    Greg Cherry
    QD Events LTD
  • It is so useful to hear from your peers at this time. Please pass my thanks to Ruth and the BTIG panel
    Dan Assor
    CloserStill Media
  • Just wanted to thank you and Ruth this morning for the Zoom meeting - it was really interesting to hear how things are moving along in the virtual/hybrid meeting/exhibitions. All very new to me, so a lot to digest.
    Maureen Wright
    Optic UK
  • The session this morning was fantastic. We are right in the midst of this and the information was so useful. We can apply it immediately
    Claire Adams
  • The AEO provides an opportunity to make a difference, to work with other companies for the good of the industry as a whole, but beyond that, it provides it’s members with valuable insight and tangible benefits to grow your business, upskill and engage your teams. For those reasons, our membership is in indelible ink on the each annual budget. In short, if you aren’t a member, you are missing out.
    Ed Tranter
    73 Media




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