Insurance cover woes threaten smaller TV producers and live venues

(Title Image: Senedd Cymru)

Culture Committee
Impact of Covid-19 on the creative industries (pdf)
Published: 17th July 2020

  • Three-quarters of film & TV staff thought to be ineligible for UK Government employment support.
  • Creative Industries Foundation: 16,000 jobs could be lost in Wales.
  • Creative Wales praised, but committee expects the Welsh Government to commit all of £59million in UK Government funding to the creative industries.
  • Failure to secure insurance cover stoke fears that big gun producers will wipe out gains made by smaller production companies and will result in live venues remaining closed.

“We are fast running out of time if we are to stabilise and sustain our creative industries. Therefore, the Welsh Government should set out how it will prioritise the additional funding to ensure our arts, cultural and heritage organisations are not forced to close their doors for good or make valued employees redundant, as a matter of urgency.”
– Acting Committee Chair, Helen Mary Jones MS (Plaid, Mid & West Wales)

Supply chains “decimated”

The Culture Committee was told in no uncertain terms that the Covid-19 pandemic has “decimated” supply chains – which includes set designers, make-up artists and contractors like electricians – and left scores of individuals and businesses without any form of government support.

A survey by the Film & TV Charity found that 74% of members were not expecting support through the UK Government’s self-employment and furlough schemes. The Creative Industries Foundation estimates a potential 16,000 job losses in Wales.

There was praise for Creative Wales – the recently-established Welsh Government agency. Witnesses noted the speed by which emergency funding was distributed and the good levels of consultation with the industry.

Public service broadcasting “more appreciated than ever before”

The Committee heard how crucial public service broadcasters were during the pandemic in terms of public information, assisting home-schooling and providing “an escape”.

S4C’s Owen Evans said the increased profile of the Senedd and Welsh Government presented opportunities that shouldn’t be thrown away, but the BBC’s Rhodri Talfan-Davies warned that they were facing greater financial pressures with a £4.5million hit to their budget.

An inability by producers to secure full insurance cover was cited by witnesses as one of the main obstacles to restarting production. There were fears a “two-tier” system would develop where producers with massive financial clout – like Netflix and Amazon – will be able to take risks that the smaller producers can’t.

There were similar concerns regarding insurance when it comes to music venues, theatres and cinemas, with some quotes exceeding 10 times the usual premium.

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