UK Music Chief Warns ‘Catastrophic’ Delay Over Covid Restrictions Easing Means Continued Economic Support & Insurance Scheme ‘More Vital Than Ever’

14.06.2021: UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin warned today (Monday 14th June) that delaying the easing of Covid-19 restrictions marked a “catastrophic blow” for the live music industry. 

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14.06.2021: UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin warned today (Monday 14th June) that delaying the easing of Covid-19 restrictions marked a “catastrophic blow” for the live music industry. 

The warning came in response to the Prime Minister’s expected confirmation that the Government will keep lockdown rules in place in England for a further four weeks beyond the original opening date for full-capacity for live events of June 21.

UK Music, the collective voice for the UK music industry, called for immediate Government action to help the sector, which is now facing thousands of further job losses and the cancellation of hundreds of live music events in the coming weeks.

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin highlighted the Government’s shift as “crystal clear evidence of the urgent need for a Government-backed insurance scheme” to help save what remained of this summer’s calendar of festivals, concerts and other live events.

According to the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), a five-week delay will result in 86% of festivals not being able to take place in 2021.

Music festivals including Glastonbury, British Summer Time Hyde Park, Boomtown Fair, Shambala, Bluedot and the Cambridge Folk Festival have said they will not be taking place this year. Several events blamed problems securing insurance in their cancellation announcements.

The latest delay could see around 5,000 live events cancelled, according to LIVE – the association body for the live industry.

UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said: 

“This delay is catastrophic for the live music industry – not just for the millions of fans who are desperate to get back to gigs and concerts, but for the event organisers, the venues, and the thousands of musicians and support staff whose jobs and livelihoods are now at risk.

“People across the industry have had June 21 circled in their calendar as the date they can finally get back to work after more than a year and make a living again. But that hope has now been crushed and their futures are shrouded in uncertainty at a time when they most need clarity.

“There is a very real risk now of permanent damage to our sector in terms of a loss of talent and expertise – the live industry has warned there are 5,000 shows at risk of collapse, 250 grassroots music venues at risk of eviction and losses running at hundreds of millions of pounds.

“This delay is particularly disappointing because of the lengths to which the music industry has gone to reduce the risk of transmission and develop effective safe working protocols. We worked with the Government on the recent pilot events, which were a huge success and saw just a handful of Covid-19 cases among the 58,000 people who attended.

“Government must immediately support the music industry to mitigate the impact of this delay by extending economic support, especially the Business Rate Relief scheme, furlough and SEISS, and by ensuring freelancers have access to the financial support they desperately need.

“This delay is also exactly why our industry has desperately needed a Government-backed insurance scheme. Confidence will be at rock bottom within the sector after today – and so festival and event organisers desperately need that safety net from the Government so they can plan with confidence and avoid financial ruin if the rules change again.

“The UK has one of the most vibrant live music scenes in the world, and the music industry is one of the sectors that should be driving our economic and cultural recovery from this pandemic. If the industry is not to be allowed to operate without restrictions for another month, then continued economic support and an insurance scheme is more vital than ever.”

UK Music is calling on the Government to take steps in a number of key areas:

  • A Government-backed insurance scheme to help event organisers plan for the risk of Covid-19-related cancellations.
  • An extension of the Business Rate Relief scheme until April 2022.
  • A continuation of the temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT on hospitality and admission to certain events until April 2022.
  • Dedicated support for freelancers until the sector can fully reopen.
  • Extension to furlough scheme and Government support for self-employed.
  • Extension on the moratorium on evictions from venues.

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