Tom Kiehl, UK Music Acting Chief Executive, has called on the government to honour its pledge of matching the level of support for the self-employed to that offered to employees.
Kiehl’s intervention comes amid mounting fears that Chancellor Rishi Sunak plans to wind down the support scheme for the self-employed (which is due to end on 31 May), while continuing to give assistance to employees under the furlough scheme until October.
Under schemes created in March, around 2.3 million self-employed workers and more than eight million employees are being supported financially under the government’s income grant scheme. The self-employed support scheme entitles qualified workers to get 80% of their average earnings over recent years, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
The Chancellor recently extended the furlough scheme for employees. However, nothing has yet been announced for freelancers and the self-employed under the self-employed income support scheme (SEISS), despite an earlier government pledge of parity of support for the two sectors to help them weather the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.
Warning the government not to leave the self-employed workers in the music industry ‘swinging in the wind’ as they faced the prospect of a ‘cliff-edge’ end to their financial support, Tom Kiehl said:
‘While the recent extension of Government support for employees is welcome, we have yet to hear what is planned for the self-employed.
‘The community of self-employed workers in the music industry are a critical part of our sector’s eco-system and play a huge part in the £5.2 billion annual contribution music makes to the economy.
‘The Chancellor needs to act to lift the cloud of anxiety and uncertainty facing thousands of self-employed workers that make up 72% of the music industry’s workforce.’