Woking firm warns events industry faces huge job losses

THE owner of a Woking-based lighting and audio-visual company has warned the events industry in Britain could be seriously damaged with huge job losses because of a lack of help during coronavirus restrictions.

Many theatre and events technical companies are not getting rate relief promised by the government because of confusion about the definition among local authorities about who qualifies, said Peter Kramer of Storm Lighting.

The New Victoria Theatre was lit in red by Storm Lighting as part of a national campaign to highlight the plight of the live entertainment industry from coronavirus

Peter set up the company, based in Monument Way West, in 1996 and provides technical production services for some of the biggest events in the country and theatres in the West End.

Storm Lighting has recently paid its rates as Woking Borough Council does not regard it as qualifying for rate relief.

Peter said the company received a discretionary grant from the council for which it was very grateful and was using it to help pay its rent.

Peter Kramer

“Local councils are confused and are interpreting a very clear statement from the chancellor in very different ways,” he told the News & Mail.

Peter said he will continue to argue that Storm Lighting qualifies for the rate relief and has written to Jonathan Lord, the Woking MP, to ask for his support.

He said that he could have to make a large proportion of his staff redundant when the furlough scheme ends next month and many other technical support companies will do the same.

“The furlough scheme has to be targeted. Other businesses, including shops, are now trading again, but we are not,” he said.

Peter said the next few months will be critical for the industry, which is having to use savings to keep going.

For more on this story, see the 10 September edition of the Woking News & Mail

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