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UK MUSIC CEO reports in his weekly blog a similar feeling to that of AFO Gen. Sec.

UK MUSIC CEO reports in his weekly blog a similar feeling to that of AFO Gen. Sec.

The euphoria of the news after the budget that suggested festivals could just restart was of course exciting but the devil in the detail is now being revealed.

In his blog (8/3/21) Jamie says….

Last week’s Budget was a mixed bag for the music industry. Having finally secured a timeline for coming out of lockdown restrictions in the Prime Minister’s Roadmap, UK Music had called for three things from the Chancellor: continued economic support to support the sector and the workforce through to the end of the pandemic; a Government-backed insurance scheme to ensure live activity can start up again as soon as possible; and longer-term support from Government to unlock the potential of the music industry and enable us to help spearhead the economic recovery.

In terms of the immediate continued economic support, this ask was broadly delivered. The Government listened to our calls to extend furlough, SEISS and the VAT cut, and the £300m boost to the Culture Recovery Fund was equally welcome.  Meanwhile, the expansion of SEISS eligibility to include the newly self-employed was a good first step, but many freelancers will still be unable to access economic support. There is more we must continue to press for on this front, in particular ensuring that the third round of the CRF is open to freelancers to apply for, as is the case in Scotland and Wales.

There was less good news when it came to insurance. While the Chancellor lauded the success of the Film and TV insurance scheme and extended that until the end of 2021, there was nothing for the music industry. For all the media excitement about some summer festivals taking place, the issue of insurance remains a huge barrier for many – indeed, the increased clarity in the roadmap makes the challenge of not being able to secure insurance for events even more acute. Because the June 21 restart date will not be confirmed until the week before, organisers of large events are being asked to plan events for the summer without any sort of safety net if they get cancelled. It was disappointing not to have any reassurance on this front in the Budget, especially as the Film and TV insurance scheme has been such a success: it has protected 24,000 jobs, enabled more than 200 productions, and generated £1.19 billion for the economy. Imagine the positive benefits such a scheme for the music industry would have on the economy.

The lack of insurance remains one of the biggest challenges the live sector faces, with knock on impacts across the wider sector, and so this will remain one of our lobbying priorities going forward.

WE at AFO agree
Steve Heap

Association of Festival Organisers (AFO): 8th Mar 2021 13:27:00

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