06 August 2021
In response to today's government announcement of a £750 million scheme offering insurance cover for live events forced to close by Covid restrictions, Equity General Secretary Paul W Fleming has released the following statement:
“Equity members will recall that in March 2020 the government did not initially legally prevent theatres from opening and instead just advised audiences to stay home. Then, for almost 18 months, the stop-start of our industry was because of government failure to grasp the economic consequences of social distancing, and now workplaces are being shut down due to unnecessary self-isolation rules. So the announcement today of an insurance to protect only against event closure through government instruction is inadequate, when over the past year so many live performances have been closed by opaque obstacles, not explicit requirements.
"£750 million could instead be put towards more comprehensive closure cover – or even insurances against winter flu or COVID outbreaks among artists. It could be used as a shuttering fund for commercial venues struggling to get on their feet, or to fix the lunacy of the current 'pingdemic'. Three quarters of a billion is almost 150 times the amount in grants made available to Equity members, 40% of whom were left without furlough or income support. Clearly insurers are viewed as more worthy recipients of taxpayer money than the artists and entertainers who make the creative industries worth more to the economy than banking.
"Like the Cultural Recovery Fund before it, this insurance is disconnected from the real needs of our members and the industries in which they work.”