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UK Government Finally Sets Up Festival Insurance Scheme
Christian Eede , August 6th, 2021 11:27

The £750 million government-backed initiative was announced last night by Chancellor Rishi Sunak

UK music festivals and live events will soon be protected by a £750 million government-backed insurance scheme if they are forced to cancel as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

The UK government has partnered with Lloyd's to deliver the new Live Events Reinsurance Scheme as part of the Plan For Jobs. It will see the government acting as a 'reinsurer' – "stepping in with a guarantee to make sure insurers can offer the products events companies need."

The initiative will only cover cancellation costs if live events are legally unable to happen due to government COVID-19 restrictions. It will be available from September 2021 through to the end of September 2022.

In an announcement statement shared last night (August 5), Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "The events sector supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country, and I know organisers are raring to go now that restrictions have been lifted. But the lack of the right kind of insurance is proving a problem, so as the economy reopens I want to do everything I can to help events providers and small businesses plan with confidence right through to next year."

The announcement of the initiative follows months of calls for such a scheme by music and events industry figures. Many festivals have already been forced to cancel this summer, and criticism has been levelled at the government that they may have been able to go ahead had more decisive action been taken to set the scheme up sooner.

Welcoming the initiative, UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said: "For months, UK Music has been warning about the catastrophic impact of the market failure in insurance for live events. The inability to obtain insurance has already caused many cancellations this summer – these have been devastating for the entire music industry and there were fears that without action we would have seen major cancellations continuing well into next year too.”

"This new government scheme is therefore incredibly welcome news – not just for the millions of music fans who have been looking forward to the return of live events, but also for the tens of thousands of musicians, crew members and wider supply chain workers whose jobs depend on continued live activity."

The NTIA's Michael Kill, meanwhile, said: "I am extremely pleased the government has decided to introduce an insurance scheme for the events and festival sector, it stands testament to a government that is starting to acknowledge the varying issues within the sector and through engagement, take the appropriate action to protect businesses and jobs."

"It is devastating that the timings of this scheme could not have been earlier, as we have already lost many amazing festivals and events to the uncertainty that this pandemic represents."