Companies that provide event management services have been overlooked for help during the Covid-19 pandemic and urgent guidance is needed from the government, according to a South Oxfordshire district councillor.
Cllr Leigh Rawlins, the Cabinet member for finance at South Oxfordshire District Council, has written a letter to the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy to ask for urgent guidance on how the council can help event management companies.
In his letter to the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, Cllr Rawlins thanked the government for helping the council to provide over £25 million to more than 2,000 businesses in the district, however, he explained that companies that arrange and host events are facing a great deal of hardship. This type of organisation falls between the cracks because they do not wholly or mainly sell goods to visiting members of the public, and this means the council is unable to provide rate relief or support them with a business grant.
This is despite Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s response to a question in the House of Commons on 17 March where he promised, “Those that have business properties will be eligible both for the relief and the grant, which will cover a significant number of events companies that have premises”, however, the technical guidance as not yet been updated to reflect that.
Cllr Rawlins writes, “There has been no revised guidance on this particular issue and the only extension to the retail, hospitality and leisure provisions was to bring bingo halls, estate agents and letting agencies into the mix for extended business rate relief and associated grants.”
The Cabinet member for finance has asked for clarification by 25 August so that the council can arrange support to those local event companies affected by the government’s deadline of 28 August.