Musicians’ Union General Secretary Horace Trubridge has called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to recognise that musicians’ jobs have been made unviable only by the government’s rules.
Trubridge’s comments are in response to Chancellor Sunak’s recent suggestions that large parts of the performing arts industry would not receive government pandemic support because they were ‘unviable’. ‘The only reason they are currently unable to work is because of the Government’s Coronavirus restrictions,’ Horace Trubridge said in a statement.
‘As things stand 70% (of musicians) are currently unable to do more tha a quarter of their usual work. In the meantime, we desperately need the Chancellor to expand the SEISS (Self-Employment Income Support Scheme) to cover more than 20% of monthly profits and plug the gaps that mean 38% of musicians are ineligible for the wage support schemes.’
Thousands of musicians have been forced out of work by the pandemic and Sunak’s latest plan ensures that almost none will be eligible for support during the government’s extended restrictions.
Sunak’s latest plan says that no-one working below a third of their previous hours will get SEISS money, while most MU members say their working below a quarter of their previous hours. In addition, many freelancers who have correctly saved money to pay taxes have been told they are ineligible for Universal Credit catching them in a trap where they are not allowed to do their jobs and not allowed to claim any form of support.
‘We also urge the Treasury and the DCMS to allow Arts Council England to distribute some of the £1.57 billion dedicated to culture to individual freelancers, as the devolved administrations have done in Wales and Scotland,’ said Horace Trubridge.
The Musicians’ Union is asking all its members to write to their MPs to build support in Parliament for their plight.