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 two 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 ran its first phase of nine pilots (with some running multiple events) in April and May to inform decisions around the safe removal of social distancing at Step 4 of the Roadmap. A second phase of events will continue to build on existing evidence and collect additional data to inform organisers and consumers on the logistical and practical considerations of reopening events safely. The pilots cover a range of settings, venues, and activities so that findings will support the full reopening of similar settings across multiple sectors.
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 roadmap restrictions should the programme not exist. In the case of the Liverpool events, as these have been put on specifically as part of the programme, the government will compensate organisers in full should an event be cancelled, but this will be capped at £300,000 in total across the Liverpool events.
The government does 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 will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.