£750m fund to guarantee live events won't get cancelled by Covid

6 August 2021, 06:02

A £750m has been designed to stop live events from getting cancelled because of restrictions
A £750m has been designed to stop live events from getting cancelled because of restrictions. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

A £750 million insurance scheme for live events has been launched by the Government to try and prevent mass cancellations because of Covid.

Organisers who are worried that their event could get cancelled have found it hard to get insurers to cover them.

The Government, working with Lloyd's, will now act as a "reinsurer" and provide a guarantee so insurers can offer products to organisers in case new restrictions were to be put in place.

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.

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"We have some of the best events in the world here in the UK - from world-famous festivals to your local fair. With this new insurance scheme, everything from live music in Margate to business events in Birmingham can go ahead with confidence, providing a boost to the economy and protecting livelihoods through our Plan for Jobs."

The Treasury said the live events sector is worth £70 billion annually to the economy and supports more than 700,000 jobs.

The reinsurance scheme will run from September until September 2022.

But Labour's shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens said it was the "bare minimum".

She said: "Anything less than lockdown, like the reintroduction of social distancing or artists or crew having to self-isolate, isn't covered.

"Yet again the Government has dithered, delayed and come up with a solution that doesn't address the problem. Under this scheme, the Government essentially takes no risk and the live events sector carries it all."

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, chief executive of UK Music, 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."

Denis Desmond, chairman of Live Nation UK and Ireland, said: "This vital intervention from the UK Government offers certainty to artists, concert and festival promoters in the live entertainment market. This is very welcome news and will help keep the sector and its employees working."