THE government is being urged to give “targeted and immediate support” for the events industry in a bid to save 90,000 jobs.

The managing director of the annual Bournemouth 7s Festival is among those warning that events businesses and thousands of suppliers will go bust if more is not done to help the sector.

Craig Mathie, who is also a council member of the National Outdoor Events Association, said: “The supply chain – from safety to marquees – all these people haven’t qualified for any of the government support that’s been out there but they’re crucial to what we do.

“If you don’t have suppliers in the future, we won’t have events. You don’t plan an event and then put it on the next day. It takes months and years.”

Larger events and conferences were due to resume from October 1, but the government has said they cannot now happen for at least six months.

Organisers of the #WeMakeEvents campaign say the industry is worth £84billion to the economy and 700,000 jobs.

Representatives of the industry have warned that 90,000 jobs will be lost within weeks as the furlough scheme ends, if the government does not offer more financial support.

This year’s Bournemouth 7s Festival of sport and entertainment was at first postponed from May to August and then cancelled.

Mr Mathie said the business employed six permanent staff in addition to owners Roger and Fleur Woodall, who had agreed to keep them all on this year. At the time of the festival, the company normally takes on 600-800 staff.

He said the industry needed more clearer guidance from the government.

“We need a road map of what the future looks like or a ‘not before’ date, or a targeted extension of the furlough scheme,” he said.

The business recently opened team entries for the next Bournemouth 7s festival, scheduled for May 20-28, 2021, and has already sold 70 per cent of the places. “We had probably our best first day ever. People are keen to get back to live events,” said Mr Mathie.

In a letter to Boris Johnson, 334 companies in the events and exhibitions industry said they face an “existential threat” from the decision to close

The group, including the NEC, ExCeL London and the O2, called for an urgent package of support measures.

“The prime minister’s announcement last week means that the once vibrant and growing UK events industry has been closed by the government, and this is certain to have catastrophic employment consequences across the UK,” they wrote.

The Events Industry Alliance estimates that four in five of the 114,000 people who work in the exhibitions sector will be made redundant when businesses lose access to furlough support and are still unable to reopen.

Companies will “have no income to pay employees”, they said.