As Boomtown Fair cancels its festival for the second year, why is the Government so reluctant to introduce a Covid insurance scheme?

Much has been written today, both in the dance music press and elsewhere, about Boomtown Fair cancelling the festival for the second year in a row. In a series of tweets, they reveal the reason is because of a lack of government backed insurance in case of any Covid related problems that may arise.

This is something that the British government has had on the table since approximately June of last year. As the first lockdown started to ease over the summer, it was one proposal put forward to try and bring about some kind of normality. To date, they’ve resisted doing so.

What I haven’t seen anyone writing about is why. Why has the Government not introduced such a scheme when the likes of the Netherlands and Germany have? What have they got against introducing it?

Well, it appears they’re not totally against the idea of government backed Covid insurance. They introduced precisely such a scheme for the film and TV industries last summer. It was estimated that it would cost them around £500 million.

But they won’t do it for festivals. Why? I did a Robert Peston and contacted an old associate of mine from a past life. He worked pretty high up in the echelons of Whitehall for many years. He explained:

“Chances are it’s because this commitment would have to be very open ended for it to work. The pandemic has already cost a fortune. Ministers also likely think that only a few people would benefit from the decision – lots of people watch films and television, most of the population doesn’t go to festivals.”

A better explanation, I haven’t come across. If you can offer one, do get in touch!

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