Options Open - Integrated Systems Europe is keeping all options open for ISE 2021 which is scheduled to take place in Barcelona 1-4 June this year. Mike Blackman, managing director, Integrated Systems Events, has told exhibitors that the organisation is “working hard alongside each of you to bring a successful ISE 2021”.
Blackman states, “Together with each of you, our shared goal is to deliver a show that prioritises safety and brings a return on investment to our show community. With the rapid implementation of vaccines, and the current reduction in daily new cases, we see the COVID situation in many European countries (including Spain) improving at an increasing pace. Based on this positive trend, we anticipate a climate that will make it possible to run an in-person event in Barcelona. However, we are realistic that current attitudes to travel may mean a lower volume of attendance than in previous years.
“We are reviewing all options, and are listening carefully to feedback from the industry, with a plan to provide an engaging event in Barcelona for those who wish to be a part of it.
“ISE is a community of over 1,000 exhibitors and nearly 100,000 attendees and has grown as such through working together, focused on growing the market and delivering opportunities for the amazing people that make up this industry. And we recognise that not all the members of our community are ‘in the same place’ as we conceive of gathering together or travelling to Barcelona.
“For those exhibitors and attendees who are unable to travel to Barcelona, we will offer a robust digital programme highlighting unique content that can only be found at ISE. In addition, we are exploring regional opportunities for the local markets of Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, taking ISE on the road for those who may not be able to make it to Barcelona.”
Budget Moves - Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to announce £408m of help for museums, theatres and galleries in England to reopen when Covid restrictions ease. In his Budget on Wednesday, he will also pledge £150m to help communities take over pubs in danger of closing. And the business secretary said furlough and the hospitality sector VAT cut were likely to be extended.
But ex-Conservative leader Lord Hague has said "personal and business" taxes must rise to help government finances. Official figures show the UK economy contracted by 9.9% last year and, last week, it was revealed unemployment had risen to 5.1% in the three months to December - the worst rate since 2015. With its takings down, and spending on programmes such as furlough costing tens of billions of pounds, the government is expected to borrow £394bn during the current financial year - the highest figure seen in peacetime.
Furlough Extension - The furlough scheme, paying up to 80% of an employee's salary, is scheduled to stop at the end of this month. But Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng signalled the chancellor would announce a further extension in the Budget, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme the focus was on "providing support for business and families". He added that there would also "perhaps be an extension" of the reduced - 5% - rate of VAT for the hospitality sector.
No Download - This year's Download Festival has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organisers have confirmed. The rock and metal event had been due to take place from 4 to 6 June, headlined by Kiss, Biffy Clyro and System of a Down. Ticket holders have been told they can retain their spots for next year or receive a refund. The event had been due to start a few weeks before the government's 21 June target date to remove all legal limits on social contact. Last year the festival was also called off due to the pandemic, in what would have been the 40th anniversary of its original incarnation, Monsters of Rock.
(Jim Evans)

2 March 2021

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