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Live events industry warns of mass jobs losses and death of the sector

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live events industry warns of mass jobs losses and death of the sector

A prominent businessman and owner of London’s iconic music venue, Electric Brixton, has warned the live events industry is on the brink of collapse.

Music venues, theatres and events companies have been out of operation since the nationwide lockdown was implemented in March this year, with no sign of restarting.

Though small, socially distanced events such as comedy gigs with reduced audiences and restricted access have started to make a comeback, most live events are still stuck in limbo and are appealing for a lifeline from the Government.

Iconic London venue Electric Brixton has hosted a number of artists and events including rock legend Liam Gallagher (pictured). It closed in March 2020 and its future remains uncertain

Iconic London venue Electric Brixton has hosted a number of artists and events including rock legend Liam Gallagher (pictured). It closed in March 2020 and its future remains uncertain

Iconic London venue Electric Brixton has hosted a number of artists and events including rock legend Liam Gallagher (pictured). It closed in March 2020 and its future remains uncertain

According to Plasa, the international membership body for those who supply technologies and services to the event and entertainment industries, one performance takes an average of 443 professionals to run it.

This includes planning, design, preparation, warehouse, venue staff and more. It estimates the sector delivers a staggering £100billion to the UK economy and employs around 600,000 people. 

Dominic Madden, co-founder of music venue company Electric Group, which runs London’s iconic Electric Brixton, said without a tailored support package, the industry remains at risk.

He recently reopened Bristol venue SWX but has significantly reduced its capacity from almost 2,000 to 330. 

Entry times are now staggered and require temperature testing and hand sanitiser stations have been implemented throughout the venue among other alterations. 

But Electric Brixton, one of the most successful and high profile venues in the country, which makes a turnover of £6.5million a year and is reliant on a network of international touring, remains closed.

Electric Brixton is one of the most successful and high profile venues in the country

Electric Brixton is one of the most successful and high profile venues in the country

Electric Brixton is one of the most successful and high profile venues in the country

‘It’s difficult to open and operate a large music venue and turn a profit when you are either not allowed to open or have to repurpose and significantly reduce your licensing capacity.  

‘When travel stopped and venues closed that all collapsed. We are programmed sometimes three years in advance for Electric Brixton, so had to cancel hundreds of shows.’

Dominic said the furlough scheme has helped to maintain his teams and Electric Group was one of the organisations fortune enough to receive a Culture Recovery Grant from the Arts Council last week.

But income from the business was completely suspended from March and Dominic was unable to get one of the government’s Bounce Back or Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme loans.

‘It’s not quite as simple as that. There hasn’t been a great deal of appetite to lend to music and events from the government,’ he added. 

‘We are delighted to have received a Culture Recovery Grant to tide us over but more needs to be done for the industry as a whole. 

Musician Ben Allison said the lack of Government support is worrying

Musician Ben Allison said the lack of Government support is worrying

Musician Ben Allison said the lack of Government support is worrying

‘Unless the government introduces a tailored package for each part of the industry – as it is a large ecosystem of self-employed people across different areas – there are going to be catastrophic results.’ 

‘Worrying’ lack of help

Meanwhile, 28-year-old Ben Allison is a music teacher, member of band One Eyed Disco and a wedding band, and has been a live performer for the past 10 years.

Covid-19 meant the immediate cancellation of this type of event and has seen members of his wedding band alone down tens of thousands of pounds from the sudden disruption.

He said: ‘We haven’t done a single wedding since March and even with the new rule of 15 guests per wedding, I highly doubt we’ll be doing any more till late next year. 

‘The fact you can go to a small, cramped and full pub every day of the week but can’t have more than 15 guests at a wedding with tables two meters apart is mind-boggling to us.’

As for his original band One Eyed Disco, they’ve had exciting opportunities such as festival slots and recording sessions cancelled.

‘We do understand that these are unprecedented times and it’s impossible for a government to make everyone happy, but the lack of help is starting to get very worrying,’ he added.

Ben realises he is one of the lucky ones as his teaching job meant he could still work from home during lockdown via online music lessons and he was eligible for a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant.

Plasa estimates one live performance to involve an average of 443 workers

Plasa estimates one live performance to involve an average of 443 workers

Plasa estimates one live performance to involve an average of 443 workers

However the grant can only cover him so far and it is hard to say what will happen when there is no inclination as to when the live events industry can get back up and running again. 

He added: ‘This is going to hugely affect the industry in so many ways and is already doing so now. 

‘Famous venues are facing permanent closure, theatre shows are being cancelled indefinitely, and musicians and other people in the arts will have to look at potentially leaving the industry to get other jobs. 

‘I personally will have to find a new income avenue at some point soon to cover myself and my finances just to get by.’

I have worked as a musician since I first picked up a guitar 20 years ago. I don’t want to just be told to retrain.

Ben thinks the government should create a grant that covers those who are unable to work because doing so be illegal and go against social distancing policies. 

Without this kind of support, he thinks before long, many venues will cease to exist and musicians no longer active. 

‘I have worked as a musician since I first picked up a guitar 20 years ago. I don’t want to just be told to retrain. We helped people through lockdown with streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix and now it’s time for us to be helped.’ 

Plight of the supply chain 

It’s not just musicians and the venues they play in that are suffering due to the suspension of live events.

There are thousands of other workers across different sectors that are equally in turmoil.  

The #WeMakeEvents campaign highlights the plight of the supply chain within the events industry and comprises around 100 people and companies that work across live events, such as technicians, production companies, lighting controllers, environmental specialists and more.

Peter Heath is one of the founding members behind the #WeMakeEvents campaign

Peter Heath is one of the founding members behind the #WeMakeEvents campaign

Peter Heath is one of the founding members behind the #WeMakeEvents campaign 

It found it takes an average of 443 workers to run just one event and involves staff – usually freelancers – from a range of sectors including design, transport, warehouses, catering, security, sales and much more.   

Peter Heath, one of the founding members of the campaign, said: ‘The industry has been a well-kept secret for decades because, by its very nature, it operates behind the scenes. 

‘We are trying to give it a face and bring it, and its contribution to the UK economy, both domestically and internationally, to the public’s and Government’s attention.’ 

‘We are an incredibly hard-working industry, we are passionate about what we do, and what we want more than anything is to work with the Government to find a safe way forward to enable us to put on the events that are so vital to the economy and the general well-being of the country.’

Small Business Essentials

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Sunak’s bailout package sends budget deficit towards £400bn 

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sunaks bailout package sends budget deficit towards 400bn

Rishi Sunak’s latest bailout package for businesses could push Britain’s annual budget deficit above £400billion, experts warned last night.

Business leaders hailed the generosity of the compensation package, which will support struggling firms hit by Tier Two restrictions.

The Chancellor unveiled changes to the Job Support Scheme, which replaces the Job Retention Scheme when it closes on October 31. 

Handouts: Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled changes to the Job Support Scheme, which replaces the Job Retention Scheme when it closes on October 31

Handouts: Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled changes to the Job Support Scheme, which replaces the Job Retention Scheme when it closes on October 31

Under the revised scheme, employers will have to pay a smaller portion of wages of furloughed staff who have returned to work part time. 

Staff will also have to work fewer hours to qualify for support. At the same time, taxpayer subsidies have doubled – with the Government funding 62 per cent of the hours not worked.

And the Chancellor said the Treasury would provide grants for struggling companies in areas under Tier Two restrictions. 

They will be worth up to £2,100 each month and will focus on companies in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sectors. 

The Treasury refused to provide any guidance on how much the new lifelines will cost. A Whitehall source said it depended on take-up of the scheme.

But it is thought the extra support could cost more than £22billion in total over six months. 

This includes roughly £1billion a month for every 2m people signed up for the scheme. 

The Treasury has previously indicated that between 2m and 5m will be supported by the wage subsidies. 

This suggests it could cost up to £15billion over six months. 

The bailout could push the annual deficit above £400billion, according to Capital Economics, which had predicted government borrowing was already on course to hit £390million even before the latest compensation package was announced.

Paul Dales, its chief UK economist, said: ‘The combination of the darkening of the economic outlook due to the latest Covid-19 restrictions and the Chancellor’s more generous Job Support Scheme mean there is every chance the budget deficit will top £400billion this year.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Nationwide to issue credit cards made from recycled plastic

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nationwide to issue credit cards made from recycled plastic

Nationwide is to issue debit and credit cards made from recycled plastic, in a move it estimates will save 35 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

The building society, which issues 5.4m cards annually, said it is the first major UK bank or building society to take such a step.

Nationwide, which is the UK’s largest building society, has pledged to eliminate single-use plastics by 2025.

Eco-friendly: Nationwide said it is the first major UK bank or building society to issue cards made from recycled plastic

Eco-friendly: Nationwide said it is the first major UK bank or building society to issue cards made from recycled plastic

The cards made from recycled PVC materials will be rolled out from next spring.

They will be issued to current account members first, before being rolled out across Nationwide’s product range. The society said the move is part of a wide focus on sustainability.

Claire Tracey, chief strategy and sustainability officer at Nationwide, said: ‘Our members tell us that, despite the tough times right now, they still want to make the world a greener place.

‘We’ve also set aside £1billion for our members to borrow at a special low interest rate if they want to make their homes greener.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Airbnb hires Sir Jony Ive for redesign ahead of a £23bn float

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airbnb hires sir jony ive for redesign ahead of a 23bn float

Airbnb has hired famed former Apple designer Sir Jony Ive to lead a redesign of the company ahead of a £23billion float later this year.

The home rental site has hired Ive’s company, LoveFrom, to revamp its app and website, as well as create new products in a ‘special collaboration’ that will last for several years.

Ive, who is British and was knighted in 2012, was lauded for overseeing the creation of the iPhone. 

Airbnb has hired Sir Jony Ive's company, LoveFrom, to revamp its app and website, as well as create new products in a 'special collaboration' that will last for several years

Airbnb has hired Sir Jony Ive’s company, LoveFrom, to revamp its app and website, as well as create new products in a ‘special collaboration’ that will last for several years

The 53-year-old was a close colleague of Apple founder Steve Jobs and was head of the company’s design from the 1990s until June 2019, and Apple is one of LoveFrom’s major clients.

Airbnb has rebounded from the Covid pandemic, which at its peak wiped out 80 per cent of its bookings. 

It cut a quarter of its workforce, raised £1.5billion of debt and cancelled all marketing in a bid to stay afloat.

Since June, analysts believe bookings in some areas have surpassed 2019 levels.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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