The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Oliver Dowden)
I am tabling this statement for the benefit of all members of this House to bring to their attention the departmental minute issued today that provides the House with notice of a series of small contingent liabilities created by my Department. This is in relation to a policy to compensate event organisers participating in phase 3 of the events research programme in the event of their cancellation if public health concerns were to give rise.
The world-leading events research programme conducted 14 pilot events across two phases since April to inform decisions around the safe removal of social distancing at step 4 of the road map up to 20 June 2021. Following the delay to step 4, the Government will now run a third phase. This will provide the opportunity to gather and generate stronger data that consolidates our evidence base in order to safely get spectators back to events when restrictions are able to lift, including trialling the practical use of certification at a range of events.
The Government will provide compensation on a discretionary basis to event organisers should a pilot event be cancelled due to public health reasons.
This compensation will be capped at £300,000 per event and will cover costs incurred in relation to participation in the programme only (e.g. admission of spectators), recognising the fact that these events would have taken place in line with road map restrictions should the programme not exist. For events that have been put on specifically as part of the programme (i.e. would not otherwise have gone ahead), the Government will compensate organisers in full should an event be cancelled, but this will also be capped at £300,000.
The Government do not intend to cancel any event in the programme, however public safety comes first and therefore it is prudent to provide this assurance to the organisers assisting the Government in reopening the economy.
A copy of the departmental minute is being placed in the Libraries of both Houses.