08.01.2021: UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin has welcomed a call from an influential group of MPs for a Government-backed insurance scheme to support the music industry.
The move followed his appearance alongside festival organisers to give evidence to the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport Select Committee of MPs as part of their inquiry into festivals.
Jamie appeared before MPs on Tuesday as UK Music published its Let the Music Play: Save Our Summer 2021 report, which outlines a clear strategy to protect and support the live music industry so it is ready to restart when safe to do so later this year.
The report (here) sets out the economic, social and cultural value of live music, along with a blueprint for reviving live music after Covid-19 forced the effective closure of the sector last March.
In particular, it warns that the lack of Covid cancellation insurance available is the biggest barrier to major events happening in 2021, and calls for Government to introduce an insurance scheme – as it did for the film and TV sector.
Jamie told MPs: “We are hearing from festival organisers across the country, that if they don’t have certainty and some sense of financial security for summer events, there are going to be major cancellations within weeks.”
He added: “Having Government be clear that this is the date when we believe it is safe to be able to hold events without social distancing at scale, will help with the public confidence effort.
“Any business will know that to run properly you need certainty and confidence, and some element of financial security. That is why the two main things that we have called for in this report are an indicative date from Government for when we can hold live music and live events at scale again without social distancing, and an insurance scheme.
“The real danger here is that if we see a lot of countries—particularly in Europe, close to home—protecting their festival seasons and live music seasons, you could almost have a talent transfer.”
Following the call from UK Music’s Chief Executive, the DCMS Select Committee’s chair, Conservative MP Julian Knight, wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and urged him to look at a Government-backed insurance scheme to help the music industry.
In his letter (here) to the Chancellor, Mr Knight said: “What’s clear is that insurance is of the utmost importance when it comes to getting our economy going again across the whole of the UK. Whatever form it takes, businesses need to be able to access reliable insurance schemes to get back on track. Government underwriting is the only way this will be possible.”
“We call on you to act now and back the UK’s renowned events, music, festivals, hospitality and theatres, to name but a few, so that livelihoods are saved and people have something to look forward to in summer 2021 and beyond.”
The Committee’s letter was supported by all UK Music’s members and other organisations across the music industry as well as the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music Chair David Warburton MP and Theresa Villiers MP in her capacity as the Chair of the APPG for Events.
Welcoming the letter, Jamie wrote on Twitter: “A Government backed insurance scheme is vital for live music events – without one we will soon see mass cancellations, even if a vaccine is successfully rolled out and this pandemic is beaten.”
He thanked Julian Knight and his committee for their “brilliant work” highlighting the issue.
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