According to U.K. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, the U.K. government will not consider granting insurance to festivals until the country’s COVID-19 lockdown ends.
Dowden stated that insurance support would only be considered as an option after step four of the U.K.’s roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions on June 21st. After that time, a decision will be made on whether planned events are allowed to move forward or not.
“It has to be the case first that we know something can go ahead,” he said. While Dowden believes that the roadmap will all go according to plan, he elaborated: “I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect the taxpayer to provide a full indemnity for all the events if it’s not possible for them to happen.”
South Derbyshire Member of Parliament Heather Wheeler opposed the plan.
“This would have been a very cheap deal to have been done, because the government are confident that June 21st is D-Day,” she said, “in which case, you didn’t need to spend any money on insurance. But it’s too late for the planning for so many of these summer festivals. It’s just too late.”
Not all U.K. lawmakers may be so sure of the date. ITV reported yesterday that an unnamed government advisor estimated the chances of restrictions lifting on June 21st at “close to nil.”
The U.K. events sector has been lobbying for insurance for festivals since early 2021, but they have had no luck receiving benefits, including measures that would cover the losses festival organizers have suffered due to event cancellations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.