Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Digital, Culture, Media, & Sport and MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross Jamie Stone MP is set to bring a debate to Parliament on Tuesday 23rd March to press the case for Government-backed insurance for live events.
The UK Government is facing increasing pressure to underwrite contingency insurance for live events in a bid to prevent the cancellation of festivals and other live productions this summer.
The Association of Independent Festivals claimed that 92.5% of its members say they cannot stage events without insurance.
The Scotland Event Producers Independent Committee has led the charge in Scotland explaining that “coverage against cancellations is not available in the commercial insurance market. A Scottish cancellation fund would immediately address concerns and provide organisers of Scottish events with the confidence to keep planning for outdoor events in summer 2021 in Scotland.”
Mr Stone said:
“There needs to be a perspective shift inside Government - they must stop seeing our calls for an insurance scheme as expenditure, but instead as an investment.
“Up in my own patch in the Far North, the Highland Games is worth an estimated £25m. With 25% of attendees coming from international destinations, the Games not only provide a much-needed economic boost to my constituency but also allows us to share Highland culture with those around the world.
“And in a time where the nation needs to recover, allowing for employment opportunities, increasing the consumption of hospitality and bringing tourism to every nook and cranny of the country will help us not only build back better, but build back together. No part of the country can be left behind.
“We know the Government have the expertise to make it happen. I am surprised the Government continue to deny our requests. Because if you really think about it: all I am asking is for the Government to underwrite their own policy.
“If the Government is confident over its handling of the pandemic to ease restrictions and promise an irreversible roadmap - meaning the industry shouldn’t have to worry about further lockdowns - why are they so reluctant to put their money where their promises are?
“If all the things that insurers are worried about never come to be, then the Treasury will never have to make a payment.”