Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely has joined forces with a group of MPs calling on the Government for more support for festivals.

During a parliamentary debate on Tuesday (23rd March) Mr Seely called on Culture Minister, Caroline Dinenage, to lobby the Treasury to support a reinsurance scheme.

The Island’s MP argued that a Government-backed reinsurance scheme would enable festival organisers to plan with confidence. He said:

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“Festivals are year-long endeavours; as soon as one festival is finished, those involved are already planning next year.

“Given the long lead times, we need to help, and we need to give confidence to festival organisers, so that they know that their work will not be wasted.”

Mr Seely went on to explain the importance of festivals to the Island’s economy:

“The Isle of Wight is effectively Britain’s festival island; we are home to a new festival almost every weekend.

“Festivals contribute significant value to the Island’s economy, although their value is wider than just economic. They support extensive supply chains, local businesses, equipment hire and similar areas of the economy. They also support the Island’s visitor economy, such as shops, bars, restaurants and accommodation, and they also help local farmers to diversify their incomes.

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“The funding and spend of almost all the smaller independent festivals also go directly into the local economy, employing hundreds, if not thousands, of people. As well as an economic impact, they also have a significant cultural impact on the Island.”

Mr Seely said a reinsurance scheme would help to kickstart festivals which he said were important for the economy but also for people’s mental health.

Speaking afterwards he said:

“I know that the Minister fully understands the situation faced by this industry because she and I met with Isle of Wight festival organisers. I am confident that she is keen to support them and I know she will work with the Treasury to find a solution.”

Island Echo