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Events Could Be Axed Within Days Without Insurance Scheme
Christian Eede , April 15th, 2021 21:32

Calls for such a scheme continue to be put forward to the UK government

Many festivals and other large-scale events may be forced to pull the plug on their plans for this summer within days if the UK government does not heed calls for a protective insurance scheme.

As The Times reports, insurance brokers have claimed that such a scheme would cost the government as little as £250 million and would give organisers of large-scale events the confidence to press forward with summer plans without fear of losing money should there be delays to the government's roadmap out of the recent COVID-19 lockdown. These events going ahead could give the UK economy a much-needed boost as the UK prepares to fully relax social distancing measures on June 21 under the current plan.

Julian Knight MP, chairman of the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, called the UK Treasury's refusal to back such a scheme "insane," telling The Times that organisers "need the confidence to put plans in place and go ahead and lead to a summer of fun rather than a summer of none."

Knight claimed that there was "quite a lot of support" for a government-backed insurance scheme, but "it is the chancellor that has stopped it."

Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), told The Times that more than 90% of the organisation's membership feels it cannot hold events this year without cover. He warned that events would begin being cancelled within days due to the risk of advance costs, including booking artists, contracting security, and hiring equipment.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said last month that when there is more certainty about the reopening of large-scale events and festival, "the more we can have discussions about the insurance point." Minister Caroline Dinenage also indicated last month that she was reluctant to explore such a scheme just yet.

Calls for a protective insurance scheme have been mounting since early last month, with a member survey conducted by the AIF having found that 92.5% of those that responded were concerned about the risks of pressing ahead with plans for the summer.