Steve Brine, along with cross-party colleagues Jamie Stone and Kevin Brennan, spoke in a Westminster Hall debate on the urgent need for a Government-backed insurance scheme for the live music industry.
The debate followed on from a letter that Winchester’s MP, along with colleagues on and off the DCMS Select Committee, sent to the Treasury reminding the Government that it has backed insurance for the film and television industry to the tune of some £500 million, and calling for similar action for other creative industries.
Speaking in the debate Steve said; “I would attest a Government-backed insurance scheme is essential to the festival industry. I appreciate and I am not saying that insurance alone is the sole barrier to kick-starting festivals, and it is a leap of faith in some respects with tax-payers money, but organisers cannot enter into the usual planning for 2021 without an insurance solution in place. It is simply the key that unlocks the process. As my honourable friend said, it is unfortunate we haven’t yet managed to persuade the Government of the case. I have to say, it is almost too late for 2021, but we must try – and we will and that’s the purpose of today.
“The sector very much welcomes the Prime Minister's roadmap out of lockdown, that it has the no earlier than dates and the news that many festivals may be able to go ahead in some capacity later on this year.
“But, I think we have to understand, this is surrounded by caveats and the problem is planning cycle- there’ll not be more than a week's notice of Step 4 being brought in, so if all factors line up and 21st June is possible, they may not get the go ahead until 14th June. So, the Government’s Event Research Programme, which I welcome very much, including the pilots will need to be successfully completed by 21st June to enable Step 4 and this doesn’t start until 12th April.
Now clearly this has a significant impact on some festivals being able to proceed with planning for July / August this year, given the timeline without an insurance solution and the average go / no go cut off point being the end of this month, which is why I say it’s almost too late. The Insurance we’re talking about here, doesn’t exist in the commercial market and it’s unlikely to mobilise this until at least 2022 so it is a market failure or a market gap.”
Winchester’s MP highlighted the plight of this sector, directly referencing Winchester’s own - Railway Inn - which has struggled throughout the past 12 months.