Photo Credit: Kenny Lam/VisitScotland

Kongres Magazine has prepared an overview of European State Aid for Covid-19 for the meetings industry. Considering the meetings and exhibition industry was one of the most affected during the corona crisis, state aid is of utmost importance for the survival and resilience of the sector. Below, the support from the EU and European governments to UK’s exhibition industry is listed.

We hope the mentioned good practice case will encourage other governments and policymakers to do the same in their respective countries. Exhibitions and trade shows are the fastest of fast-tracks to economic recovery once the coronavirus crisis has passed and will deliver the best return on investment now. We sincerely thank UFI, EEIA, and EMECA for providing valuable information.


The United Kingdom was one of the most aiding countries when it came to the meetings and exhibitions industry. Their financial aid helped the industry persevere.


Expenditure measures:

On 6 April, an “umbrella” UK scheme was announced to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large corporates in the United Kingdom that were affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The measure is a UK-wide National Temporary Framework for State aid and allows for the provision of aid in the form of:

a) Direct grants, equity injections, selective tax advantages and advance payments;

b) State guarantees for loans subject to safeguards for banks to channel State aid to the real economy;

c) Subsidised public loans to companies with favourable interest rates;

d) Support for coronavirus related research and development

e) Support for the construction and upscaling of testing facilities to develop and test products useful to tackle the coronavirus outbreak;

f) Support for the production of products relevant to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

The measure allows aid to be granted by UK authorities at all levels, including central government, devolved governments, local authorities and other bodies administering schemes involving state resources channelled through their own budgets.

On 25 March 2020, two separate UK State aid schemes to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) active in all market sectors having temporary financial difficulties due to the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak called the “Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme” (CBILS), were accepted.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

On 29 January, the Scottish Government announced a £104.3m package that has been split into nine separate funds.


Measures related to public guarantees: 

On 24 August 2020, a UK scheme of up to GBP 15 million (approximately €16 million) to support companies in Scotland that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak was introduced. The public support, which takes the form of subordinated loans with subsidised interest rates, is accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large companies in Scotland which have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
The aim of the measure is to help companies address the liquidity shortages they face and enhance their access to financing, thus helping them continue their activities during and after the

On 24 August 2020, under EU State aid rules, a UK guarantee scheme was accepted to support the trade credit insurance market in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. Trade credit insurance protects companies supplying goods and services against the risk of non-payment by their clients. Given the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the risk of insurers not being willing to maintain their insurance coverage has become higher. The UK scheme ensures that trade credit insurance continues to be available to all companies, avoiding the need for buyers of goods or services to pay in advance, therefore reducing their immediate liquidity needs.

Photo Credit: Canva Pro/Pexels


Measures related to public guarantees:

On 29 January, the Scottish Government announced a £104.3m package which will be split into nine separate funds, with the events industry being one of the targeted recipients. Scottish businesses operating within the event, travel and hospitality industries can apply, even if they have already drawn on previous funding measures. The funds include a Pivotal Event Businesses Fund, for which details remain in progress, but is closed to expressions of interest and a wider Event Industry Support Fund.

To find out more about UK’s aid scheme, click here.

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