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(Credit: Tijs van Leur)

Music

Live music ambassadors urge government to distribute free lateral flow tests

@TomTaylorFO

Several voices from the live music world have spoken out urging the government to make free lateral flow tests available after explaining that the hurdle to testing is having a negative impact on the industry

On Sunday, Boris Johnson revealed that the government were set to axe free lateral flow tests owing to the £6billion bill that they had amassed on the testing devices.

However, after an outpouring from various detractors, the government has since performed a U-turn on the matter and Johnson declared yesterday that they would grant free lateral flow test for “as long as is necessary,” albeit no definitive time scale was given. 

LIVE CEO, Greg Parmley, said that “easy access to free lateral flow tests are a vital tool in ensuring people can attend live music venues safely and allow people to comply with COVID certification with proof of a negative test.”

He continued: “Given the current high numbers of cases across the UK we are very pleased the government confirmed this morning they will keep LFTs free and easy to access for the coming weeks. Everyone is delighted live music is back after such a prolonged closure so any measure that can give people the confidence and access to attend events is vital for the government to continue.”

Other prominent figures claimed that it would actually be economically beneficial to distribute free tests because it helps to stimulate the economy by eliminating barriers to people attending live concerts and other events. 

At present, UK music venues are already facing a collective estimated debt of around £90million as one of the hardest hit industries during the pandemic. Considering testing is essential for many events, removing free lateral flows would be yet another bill and hurdle that the industry would face as it looks to recover.