Business events and conferences are a major part of Liverpool’s £3.3bn visitor economy and Joe Anderson is joining with business leaders in asking the Government to offer clarity on their resumption. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool’s £3.3bn visitor economy faces an “existential threat” if the Government doesn’t allow business events to resume as soon as possible.
That’s the view of Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, and other local business leaders, who are calling on the Government to publish a timeline for the further easing the coronavirus restrictions to business events and conferences to go ahead.
In a letter to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak and secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, Mr Anderson has joined other business leaders in Liverpool in urging the Government to take immediate action to address the threat to the visitor economy which supports 38,000 jobs in Liverpool alone and more than 50,000 across the city region.
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.
The city council is the owner of the waterfront ACC Liverpool complex, which comprises the Conference Centre, the M&S Bank Arena and Exhibition Centre Liverpool. It remains closed due to coronavirus restrictions.
LBN reported earlier this month that, although the centre remained closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, it had devised a new set of secure operational guidelines for event organisers to make sure events can be held as safely as possible.
Revised operational plans include new space capacities for conferences and exhibitions, virtual and hybrid production solutions, adapted food and drink offers and enhanced safety and hygiene measures.
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 the 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. It says: “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.”