Budget 2021: Stakeholder Representation

Ahead of the Chancellor’s planned Budget on 3 March, #WeMakeEvents has submitted a Stakeholder Representation to the Treasury with our calls to ensure the sector will survive until live events can safely reopen.

Since March, in-person live events have been all but unable to operate due to Government social distancing restrictions, with many of our members reporting revenue falls of over 90%. Yet, a significant proportion of the live event supply chain have been excluded from vital Government support. This has brought our sector to its knees. Unless HM Treasury addresses this exclusion – and provides equal support – many in the sector are unlikely to survive until live events reopen. What’s more, of those that remain, many will struggle to recover to pre-pandemic levels.

If the sector is going to be able to survive until live events can safely reopen, and then rapidly recover to pre-pandemic levels, we need HM Treasury to:

  1. Extend support to those individuals unfairly excluded from CJRS and SEISS
  2. Extend the 100% business rates relief available for businesses formally closed by Government social distancing restrictions, to businesses in the live event supply chain that are unable to work due to these same restrictions but are not considered eligible due to the fact that the Government insists on seeing them as not technically closed
  3. Reintroduce the grants to cover ENICs for employees on CJRS  

COVID-19 income support schemes

We are grateful for the support that HM Treasury has provided to many freelancers and self-employed workers in the live event supply chain, all of whom have been unable to work since March due to the effective closure of the industry. But whilst the SEISS and CJRS are proving a lifeline for many in the live events supply chain, there are a considerable number of others who are excluded from the support in part or in full due to restrictions placed on the schemes. We are calling for small refinements to ensure that all those who are unable to earn a living due to Government social distancing restrictions, but are currently excluded from support, are able to access one of the support schemes on a fair basis. The excluded group includes:

  1. Directors of small businesses
  2. Freelancers working on short-term PAYE contracts
  3. Newly self-employed
  4. Self-employed with income from other sources
  5. Self-employed with trading profit of over £50,000 

COVID-19 business support schemes

100% business rates relief

We ask that the 100% business rates relief scheme be extended to include businesses in the live event supply chain that have been severely impacted by Government social distancing restrictions but are not in a category that is currently eligible for the scheme. This relief should be backdated to 6 April 2020 to align with the support businesses currently eligible have been able to access.

Employers National Insurance Contributions (ENICs) for furloughed employees

Up until the 1 August, employers were able to claim a grant to cover the ENICs for staff on CJRS. This was a welcome measure, meaning that companies who were highly viable in normal times and earnestly wanted to retain their employees, but had no income to make a contribution to CRJS, could do so.

The fact that this has not been the case since August is causing a serious problem for organisations who are arguably in an even worse state than they were previously – having had zero income since March – and therefore, are even less able to afford the ENICs.

We also ask that HM Treasury reintroduce the grant to cover the full cost of ENICs for employees on CJRS.

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