ISM | Reinsurance and tax relief Jump to main content

Reinsurance and tax relief

As part of our campaign for improved support during the pandemic, we are calling on the Government to remove the obstacles to venues reopening and help improve the viability of live performance. This includes our suggestions that were not adopted in the 2021 Budget like creating a Government-backed reinsurance scheme and implementing new tax relief measures.

Investing in the cultural industries aligns with the government’s policy agenda. It maintains the job and skills pipeline, offers significant investment outside London which will level-up regional cultural activity and can unlock further economic growth due to the spending power of audiences before and after performances.


A major barrier to the return of performance, is the failure of the commercial insurance market to offer suitable cancellation policies. We believe that the £500 million Restart Scheme for Film and TV which helped delayed productions obtain insurance has set an important precedent. Promoters and venues would pay into a dedicated fund, to be matched by the Government, in addition to an additional premium paid by the insurance industry.

UK Music estimated that a £650 million fund would allow £2 billion worth of activity to go ahead. By comparison the German Federal Government pledged €2.5 billion to insure events for the second half of 2021 while Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands have invested around €300 million in similar schemes. In addition, Denmark (€67m), Belgium (€60m), Norway (€34m), and Estonia (€6m) have all developed their own alternatives.

In a comment to the Financial Times, The Incorporated Society of Musicians’ Chief Executive, Deborah Annetts, said:

‘The failure of the commercial insurance market to offer cancellation policies is
preventing the return of live performance once COVID restrictions are lifted. Giving venues permission to open without giving organisers the confidence to invest in events, would be a tragedy worthy of a West End drama.'

‘The Government have spent £500 million on the Restart Scheme for filming, but the UK has spent the entire pandemic watching TV at home. It’s time to give the same backing for our world-leading cultural industries to get people off the sofa and back in the audience for live shows.’

New tax relief

We are also proposing the creation of a new tax relief for live music, touring and new compositions. This would follow the regulatory elements of the Theatre Tax Relief. These would cover:

  • The production costs of musical performances including commission fees for new music, production costs for a new presentation of existing works, music hire and copyright licences.
  • New presentations of existing music and performances of new music and support orchestral concerts.