We’re starting to see some much-needed assistance for the industry and small businesses.
Finally, the Government appears to be stepping up support for small businesses. While it’s certainly useful and welcome, whether it’s actually enough depends on how long this situation goes on for – I’m taking some confidence this morning from the ramping up of measures and also the news that China has no new cases of infection for the first time since the outbreak started. It’s 6 weeks since they had the complete lockdown; their last minute action when they realised the scale of events so didn’t have scaling up of control measures as we have had. So perhaps in the next week or two we will have a timescale for some resumption of normal life.
Except that it won’t be normal life. People will have lost jobs, had reduced incomes and will generally have more of a mindset to be cautious with the funds they have available. It’s a stark reminder that in this age of cheap services and products, where we’re encouraged to simply spend everything we have available and credit is easy and painless, there is real value for both wellbeing and security in having savings at times of hardship. So, there just won’t be the spending there was before and until a vaccine is developed I suspect we will have constant gleeful warning from the mass media of this all being repeated, perhaps on a smaller scale, later in the year. How then can events and shows commit? Well, we don’t have much choice. We need to be cheered up after an event like this, much in the way that after the financial crash of 2008 the events industry actually remained reasonably consistent – people need to be entertained, and the arts and sport are the driving forces behind that.
Currently, we’re seeing work around the end of June still staying in the calendar – but it’s tentative and based on nothing but hope. If that ends up being the timescale we’re all working on then it’ll be a good outcome for the industry, and the summer (albeit reduced) work can still get us back on track for the rest of the year into next. Perhaps then The Chancellor’s measure will have been just enough. If this continues into July and August then I’m not sure there’s anything he can do.