Musicians join call for govt-backed insurance scheme

Some of the best-known names in British music are lending their voices to a campaign to help reboot the live entertainment sector from this summer. They are joining MPs and a number of industry associations in urging the government to extend existing underwriting schemes, such as the £500m fund set up for the film and television sector, to other creative industries, including live music, to allow them to get on with organising events.

Depeche Mode, Johnny Marr, Roger Daltrey, Sir Cliff Richard and Robert Plant are among the industry veterans calling for support.

Sir Cliff said: “Our business brings inspiration and happiness into people’s lives. We can make them smile when they are sad and help them sing when they have nothing to sing about. We need the government to help us plan for when it is safe to resume.”

Depeche Mode added: "With the live music industry in the UK shut down for over a year, our crew, our fans, venues, and everyone else who makes shows possible have been badly affected. Jobs and income have vanished almost overnight, and fans and artists alike have been left wondering when live shows will be possible again. We need the government to help us get our industry back on track and to help restart live events in a safe, effective way once it's possible to do so."

Tim Thornhill, director of Tysers Entertainment and Sport said the government should do for live events industry what it has for film and TV: “The government has successfully created a scheme that has enabled the film and television industries to get back to work. Now they need to do the same for the live events industry. But the window of opportunity for this summer will slam shut very shortly. The government needs to act now.

“The live events industry is a massive employer and a significant generator of economic activity. Music alone employs over 200,000 people, with music tourism contributing £4.7bn to the UK economy. [A] new YouGov survey shows that demand is there – they will buy tickets and spend on accommodation, food and drink. The government can unlock this boost to the economy at no cost to themselves, just a commitment to help underwrite the cost of cancellations should they occur.”

The industry’s call for action supports the letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak from Julian Knight, chair of the DCMS Select Committee, which warned that festival organisers and investors are unable to risk repeating losses sustained in 2020, unless the cost of events can be insured against cancellation.

The aforementioned YouGov survey suggests that half of the UK population want to go to a live event this summer, while 75% believe live events are crucial to British culture.

Transport unions meanwhile appealed to Mr Sunak to make every possible effort to support their sector, ahead of the chancellor’s Budget this week.

TSSA general secretary, Manuel Cortes, insisted that the sector had so far been ignored by government.

“We have already seen far too many jobs and businesses lost, and despite our calls, no sector specific support. We can expect a surge in holiday bookings as we climb out of this crisis, but Ministers must not leave things to chance. Without a Budget support package there may not be a high street travel industry left. It’s that simple.”

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