Scotland’s Event Industry Advisory Group this week met with new Major Events Minister Jenny Gilruth to continue to raise the plight of the industry in light of the ongoing restrictions around COVID-19.
The group were able to raise key issues with Ms Gilruth, who has recently been appointed to the position of Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development, which includes the remit for major sporting and cultural events.
Among the issues pressed home by the group were a review of physical distancing, the importance of alignment between the Home Nations, certification and testing, continued financial support and stimulus for the sector, information sharing and the ability for longer term planning, the difficulties in gaining COVID insurance for events and public messaging around the safety of events.
Following the meeting with the Minister on 15 June, the Event Industry Advisory Group reconvened on 16 June for its latest meeting where the engagement with Ms Gilruth was welcomed and other key areas discussed.
The group was given an update into new Ministerial portfolios with major sporting and cultural events sitting with Ms Gilruth and Angus Robertson as Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture. Other sporting events sit within the remit of Marie Todd, Minister for Public Health, Women’s Health and Sport while business events are part of Ivan McKee’s portfolio as Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise.
A key area of discussion was the requirement for additional funding and sector stimulus initiatives given ongoing restrictions and the inability for many events to operate with physical distancing in place. A Sector Stimulus workstream has been established within the group to build the case for future funding and support packages. The workstream has committed to submitting a proposal to Scottish Government that not only looks at the immediate concerns but also the challenges facing the industry over the next 12-18 months and beyond.
The group received a presentation from the Health & Wellbeing workstream following completion of a research project looking at the impact of events & festivals on the health & wellbeing of the nation in addition to the economic impact. The full results of the research project will be shared with the group and the wider industry in due course.
Paul Bush OBE (Director of Events): “It was pleasing to see Ms Gilruth engage with the Event Industry Advisory Group so soon after taking up her new role and commit to being an advocate for the sector within Scottish Government.
“The Minister took on board all concerns and issues from the group and showed a real understanding of the many challenges facing the sector at this time. Funding and sector stimulus is a significant concern for the industry and the work of the Sector Stimulus workstream within the group will help to further outline the value of the sector to Scotland while the Health & Wellbeing research project will evidence the wider benefits to our society and communities.”
A summary meeting note will be published soon from the meeting. You can read further outputs from the group and representatives from the sector can raise any points for consideration by the group by emailing EIAG@eventscotland.org. The next meeting of the group is scheduled for 6 July from 2.30-4.00pm.