Venues lose £15m due to lockdown - but final cost could be double

How will Norfolk and Suffolk's economy fair coming out of lockdown? Chris Starkie (inset) discusses.

How will Norfolk and Suffolk's economy fair coming out of lockdown? Chris Starkie (inset) discusses. Pictures: Archant - Credit: Archant

East Anglia’s economy is in a precarious position as its hospitality sector begins to reopen, with the cancellation of live performances costing £15m alone.

A report compiled by the New Anglia LEP has indicated that the region is beginning to settle into the new normal, but casualties may come further down the line.

Chris Starkie, chief executive of the LEP said that although the reopening of bars and resuatraunts on July 4 was a welcome move, the economy still “has a long way to go”.

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One of the most alarming figures was the damage done to venues across the region.

Norfolk and Suffolk Venues Consortium has highlighted the impact on its 19 live performance venues across Norfolk and Suffolk projecting a total collective loss of income to the end of September 2020 of £15,389,450.

Stephen Crocker, chief executive of the Norwich Theatre Royal, compiled this part of the report. He said: “This figure is just for the loss of revenue for six months. Although we had the announcement yesterday there is still no end in sight for our sector – so the figure could be double this come March.

“We continue to call on government to release a plan for reopening for our sector. We know we will be among the last to open but we need guidance to plan accordingly.”

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Businesses have also highlighted their nervousness around the track and trace app, as it has the potential to close entire sites even once they reopen.

On top of this, movement in the jobs market was highlighted.

In the past few months thousands have been made redundant as Norfolk brands like Bertram Books and Pecksniffs filed.

In the best case scenario the LEP is estimating an unemployment count for Q4 at 50,000 – in the worst at 202,000.

Mr Starkie said: “We based our modelling on Bank of England forecasts and in the worst case scenario could see unemployment at 25pc. What we are seeing is that changes in universal credit claimant figures are not coming from the usual places - we’re facing unemployment in all areas and sectors and could still be feeling the ramifications into the last quarter of 2021.”

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