UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin has welcomed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement of a £750 million government-backed insurance scheme to help the live music industry and events sector.
The move marks a major victory for UK Music which has been pressing Government ministers for months to introduce an insurance scheme to support the Covid-hit sector.
Many organisers of festivals, concerts and gigs had been unable to plan events with confidence because they could not secure insurance to protect them from the possible reintroduction of Covid restrictions that would force cancellations.
The government now has partnered with Lloyd’s to deliver the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme. The scheme will see the government act as a ‘reinsurer’ – stepping in with a guarantee to make sure insurers can offer the products events companies need.
The scheme will support live events across the UK that are open to the public – such as music festivals and other live events. It will cover costs incurred in the event of cancellation due to the event being legally unable to happen due to Government Covid restrictions.
It will be a huge boost to the UK Music industry which contributed £5.8 billion to the UK economy and supported almost 200,000 jobs pre-Covid.
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.
“We are extremely grateful to Government for listening to the calls of the sector and delivering a solution to the market failure in the insurance industry. Ministers deserve huge credit for action that will protect jobs, stimulate activity, and help kickstart the sector into playing a leading role in the post-pandemic economic and cultural recovery.”
“However, given this scheme only covers cancellation in the event of a full lockdown, it is crucial that Government avoids a return to enforced social distancing at events at all costs. None of us want to see any restrictions being reimposed, but if we find ourselves in that situation then restrictions should be based around certification and testing protocols – not enforced social distancing and capacity limits, which are not viable for our industry.
“It is also vital that this insurance scheme provides the appropriate protections for artists and musicians, and so the music industry will be working collaboratively to ensure the benefits of this scheme flow to performers also.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer 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.
“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.”
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We’ve been here for live events throughout the pandemic with billions of pounds of rescue funding. Today is an important next step as we develop live events insurance to give them the confidence they need to plan for a brighter future.
“Our events industries are not just vital for the economy and jobs; they put Britain on the map and, thanks to this extra support, will get people back to the experiences that make life worth living.
“All part of our plan to rescue, reopen and recover.”
The scheme will be delivered through insurers with events organisers able to purchase cover for government-enforced cancellation due to the event being legally unable to happen due to Government Covid restrictions, alongside their standard insurance.
The scheme will be available from September 2021 and run until the end of September 2022.