Culture Secretary urged to help live events next year

PA

Live events could be cancelled next year unless the Government helps with insurance, campaigners have warned.

Event organisers, MPs and insurers have backed an open letter to the Culture Secretary saying that festivals, theatre productions and sports events remain under threat despite the start of the mass vaccination programme.

The Let LIVE Thrive campaign wants the Government to underwrite contingency insurance, which is needed in the event of cancellation.

They say that events must be planned before vaccines are rolled out.

The letter to Oliver Dowden states: “The Coronavirus pandemic has devastated the live events industry in 2020…

“As we enter 2021 – a vital year for the UK’s economic and social recovery – the current situation for live events means that there is very little reason for optimism.”

The “threat from Coronavirus has decimated the viability of the contingency insurance market for insurers, meaning that event organisers are unable to access Covid-specific cover”, it said, adding “without this insurance, major regional and local live events across the UK will not go ahead in 2021”.

It went on: “We cannot stand by and let another year’s festivals, theatre productions, sports tournaments, mass participation events and concerts be cancelled unnecessarily.

“It would destroy not only those industries but also the many local economies and the millions of livelihoods which depend on them in the hospitality and tourism sectors, which have also been heavily impacted this year.”

By underwriting a Covid-19 contingency insurance, the Government will enable event organisers to plan for next year, the letter from the campaign – contingency insurers who have worked with the events industry – says.

A Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport spokeswoman said: “We know these are challenging times for the live events sector and are working flat-out to support it. Funding from our unprecedented £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, which builds on £200 million from Arts Council England, is helping to stabilise organisations across the country and protect jobs in live events.

“Major spectator sports in England will also receive a combined £300 million cash injection to protect their immediate futures over the winter period due to coronavirus restrictions. This is the most generous Government funding for its domestic sport sector in the world.”

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