Mere days after chancellor Rishi Sunak suggested that musicians and other arts sector employees struggling financially should just get a new job, the UK government has made moves to provide relief to the entertainment industry. As the coronavirus continues to spread, though abating ever so gradually in some swaths of Britain, a fiscal shot in the arm should jump-start film and TV production for the near future.

A site linked to government insurance broker Marsh Commercial outlines a new scheme to provide relief for movies and shows affected by pandemic-related delays and cancelations, here called ‘COVID Losses’. Any operation budgeted under £30m (with at least half of that spent within the UK) can apply to be insured directly by the government while other insurers balk at COVID-related dangers, and those bigger projects exceeding that limit can still request special considerations.

The scheme covers 20 per cent of the production budget in case of delays to a film or TV series already in the process of shooting, and 70 per cent of the budget in case of full abandonment. The maximum payout will be £5m, and the cost for this makeshift form of insurance will be one per cent of the total budget.

The press release also makes mention of a second scheme to be launched in February of next year, because the one in effect now will close registrations on the 31 October. Applications have been made available online, to be filled out by producers or coproducers on behalf of their team.

This could be a boon to independent productions hurting under the restrictive conditions of the slowly loosening quarantine, which has already complicated moviemaking in so many other, non-insurance capacities. While keeping everyone safe and secure presents its own set of challenges, at least more small-time creatives will get the opportunity to try.

Published 9 Oct 2020

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