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Government unveils state-backed insurance scheme to aid live events

The scheme kicks off in September

A venue with spectators

A government-backed insurance scheme to help mitigate risks for live events during the pandemic has been unveiled.

While the government's announcement, unfathomably, does not make specific reference to theatres, theatre performances are reportedly set to be covered by the scheme, which begins in September and will run for a year. The scheme will give producers confidence that, if their shows are cancelled, financial losses may be covered by insurers (in a similar situation to the events of March 2020).

Coming over a year after a similar program was unveiled for the film sector (despite repeated pleas from high profile stage producers and companies), the £750 million initiative was hailed by culture secretary Oliver Dowden as "an important next step as we develop live events insurance to give them the confidence they need to plan for a brighter future."

However, the scheme is not said to cover financial risks where performances have their capacities capped due to social distancing or the non-availability of a star due to Covid-related reasons – but only if they are cancelled due to legal restrictions.

DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight said in a statement: "It is really welcome that the Government has acted on a key recommendation from our inquiry into the future of UK music festivals. We have been calling on Ministers to introduce this safety net since January.

"Though it is a shame that it has come too late for some this summer, this scheme will provide the confidence the sector needs to plan and invest in future events."

Duncan Bell from #WeMakeEvents said: "WeMakeEvents was formed to represent the businesses, organisations and freelancers that make up the Live events supply chain and whose livelihoods have been severely hit by Covid.

"We are pleased to learn of plans for a government-backed insurance scheme for the events sector, and hope that this will start to re-build confidence and investment in live events, conference, and exhibitions in the UK. WeMakeEvents looks forward to working closely with the Government to fine tune the details of the scheme."

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