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Government-backed compensation should be extended to larger events – MPs

Crowd partying at a music gig (PA)
Crowd partying at a music gig (PA)

The Government must extend liability cover offered to pilot events to larger events such as summer music festivals to prevent cancellations, MPs have said.

A compensation scheme has been set up by the Government to support large-scale pilot events which are testing the safety of mass gatherings as the lockdown is eased.

Up to £300,000 will be made available to organisers should an event have to be cancelled.

MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee said this should be extended “to enable a number of culturally significant events to take place”.

Leicester City v Southampton – FA Cup – Semi Final – Wembley Stadium
The FA Cup final is part of the pilot scheme (Yui Mok/PA)

In a letter to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, committee chairman Julian Knight MP said: “If, as seems increasingly likely, more events this summer simply fall off the calendar because they lack insurance, the Government’s inaction will be solely to blame.

“The failure to back events due to take place after 21 June also undermines the investment being made in piloting the safe return of events, and the Government’s road map towards lifting restrictions on that date.”

He said the Events Research Programme backing from the Government should be extended to “a wider, yet defined, selection of events” due to happen after June 21, adding: “This would enable the country to enjoy a greater number of culturally significant events this summer, support the economic recovery of the events industry and its supply chains, and build on the investment already being made into the pilots.”

As part of the pilot programme Blossoms will headline a gig without social distancing at Sefton Park in Liverpool, while the Circus Nightclub in Liverpool will host an event for 3,000 people.

The FA Cup final at Wembley also forms part of the pilot.

Julian Knight
Julian Knight (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)

Mr Knight said: “Targeted help to enable a larger number of events, both large and small, to go ahead this summer is better than nothing.

“To see more festivals cancelled and warnings that other events could follow is very frustrating, especially when we have been warning the Government about the urgency of insurance for months and multiple proposals have been put forward.

“We will continue to voice our support for a comprehensive Government-backed insurance scheme. The Government’s road map, and the time and effort being invested in testing the safe return of large events, risk being wasted without it.

“In the absence of such a scheme, what we’re proposing could allow people to take part in events of real cultural significance across the country, with huge benefits to them as we emerge from lockdown.”

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