Music industry and charity leaders in the UK have joined forces to urge Rishi Sunak to draw up a package of urgent measures to help the crisis-hit sector fight the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a joint letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, sent on 19 March 2020, they warn the Government that many companies in the UK music industry face ‘an existential battle for survival’ and point out that the current welfare system is not devised for a situation where the Government is strongly advising the music sector to stop work.
Specifically regarding freelancers, who make up an estimated 72% of the workforce, the signatories advocate a targeted approach to guaranteed income for the live performers, peripatetic music teachers, composers, managers, engineers and producers.
Their letter, co-ordinated by UK Music, the umbrella organisation which represents the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry, says:
‘It is vital that the Government does everything it can to support the music industry with an urgent package of measures so we can do our best to weather this pandemic.
‘The Government must now act swiftly to do whatever it takes to safeguard the future of our world-leading industry.’
Other measures the Chancellor is asked to urgently consider are: putting in place emergency funding for the selkf-employed and those on zero-hours contracts; introducing VAT holidays for businesses; providing more clarity about the effective ban on mass events; and ensuring that insurance companies are accountable and follow proper protocols on claims.
UK music industry letter to Chancellor