I welcome the recent announcement of a Government-backed insurance scheme for live events as well as confirmation of visa-free travel for performers in many EU countries – both of which are policies I've tirelessly campaigned for.
These announcements will help get the music industry back on its feet. I’m acutely aware of how challenging this pandemic has been for musicians and the broader music industry. Our excellent music sector is national asset and it needs our support, now more than ever. Music is also essential to our broader economic recovery, with the industry contributing £5.8 billion a year to the economy pre-COVID-19.
The Government announced today that it has launched in partnership with Lloyd's a government-backed insurance scheme worth over £750 million for live events. The Live Events Reinsurance Scheme will run from September 2021 to September 2022. The Government will act as a reinsurer, stepping in the event of cancellation due legal requirements relating to future COVID-19 restrictions.
In June, I tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) specifically calling for the establishment a Government-backed insurance scheme to pave the way for live music events to proceed. My motion was signed by 27 other MPs representing the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green, Scottish National, Democratic Unionist and the Social Democratic Parties. Warburton also had a private meeting with the Chancellor to discuss insurance for festivals and live events.
Yesterday, the Government also confirmed that, following discussions with the EU member states, it considers 19 out of 27 of EU countries to offer visa free touring to artists. These countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden.
In seeking to secure visa-free travel for performers in the EU, I spoke in a debate in February 2021. I was also the lead signatory on an Early Day Motion (EDM) tabled by Harriet Harman MP calling on the Government to return to negotiations with the EU to seek agreement to allow creative professionals to continue working freely following the UK’s departure from the EU.
While this news is incredibly welcome, I'm calling for more work to be done to secure ease of travel arrangements for the 8 countries where a visa waiver has not yet been confirmed – Spain, Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Bulgaria, Romania, Malta and Cyprus.
The music industry must be mobile – it’s crucial for its success. This visa-waiver is essential to enabling our world-leading industry can continue to flourish and grow. The latest announcement is welcome, but with Spain and Croatia such vital markets for British musicians, I would like to see the Government press for reciprocal visa waivers for the remaining 8 EU countries where visa-free touring has not been confirmed.