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Taking Action to Protect Musicians

The MU has been working hard to speak-up for our members wherever they are, wherever they work in the music industry

Here’s a quick rundown of our work and what you can do right now to make life easier for musicians and other freelancers during the coronavirus outbreak.  

Find out about the following:

There are lots of different ways you can get involved. We’ll be keeping this page up to date as the situation changes. 
 

Government relief for the self-employed

In March, the Government announced a financial relief package for the self-employed, following weeks of lobbying MPs and Ministers, publicising the dire situation for musicians, and members taking action across the country.

This falls in line with the top action we’ve been urgently calling on Government to make, which was to:

“Implement a Universal Basic Income of £400 per week for the self-employed (which equates to the living wage) OR, as in Norway, pay them 80% of their average income over the past three years.”

Thanks to every member who filled in our impact survey or wrote to their MP. We have never stopped pressuring the government, but individual case studies have also been invaluable.

No musician should be left behind

Although Government’s Self-employed Income Support Scheme does provide financial relief to many of our members – it is vital that no musicians are left to fall through the cracks.

We are concerned about the self-employed musicians who are not covered by these new measures, and also how the Government will cover the gap until support is made available in June.

We have updated our call on Government to reflect these concerns, and urge members to continue writing to their MPs with our new point.
 

Write to Rishi

More than a third of musicians are likely to miss out on Government support, according to new research by the MU.

Ask the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to protect all self-employed workers, and ensure no musician is left behind. You can find Rishi Sunak's contact details here.

You can use our template letter if you're not sure what to say. Remember to include how you are affected too. Personal stories make all the difference.

Dear Chancellor,

No-one should be left behind by Government support.

Please extend the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to cover all musicians and self-employed people who currently fall through the gaps in the scheme.

In your speech, you said that the SEISS would work for 95% of the self-employed and that those not covered would be the richer self-employed.

But according to a new Musicians’ Union survey, 38% of musicians are not covered by either your Self-Employment Income Support Scheme or the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

More than a quarter (26%) of musicians who do qualify for the scheme will also struggle to survive financially until SEISS payments are made.

I am one of them. The SEISS does not cover me because I [delete as appropriate: am newly self-employed / am self-employed less than 50% of the time / have yearly profits over £50,000 / operate as a director of a Limited Company / have taken time out due to maternity or parental leave]

[Use this space to share your personal story. Explaining how this is affecting you, and will affect you in the weeks to come, is more likely to result in a response or action]

As Chancellor, I am calling on you to:

  • Provide meaningful support for musicians who have been self-employed for less than a year.
  • Allow musicians who are part self-employed (at less than 50% of their total annual income) to access support through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
  • Remove the £50,000 cap in the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, as no equivalent cap exists for employed people, and pay people up to the cap.
  • Support for self-employed musicians who run as limited companies and pay themselves in dividends through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
  • Ensure that musicians who have taken time off from work for maternity / parental reasons are not discriminated against.
  • Speed up the Universal Credit application process up to cover the gap until support via the Self-employment Income Support Scheme is made available in June, or put in place an alternative method of covering the income gap.

I hope this moves you to action. If it is not enough, I urge you to read the recent Treasury Select Committee report that supports these asks.

It highlights that over a million people are falling through the gaps - including the newly self-employed, directors of limited companies and those affected by the £50,000 cap - and makes specific recommendations to protect us and our professions.Yours sincerely,

[Add your name and full address including postcode]

 

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Write to your MP

Write to your MP now. If there is one thing that will change the game for all musicians, it is immediate and informed Government action.

It really does work - MU members played a key part in getting the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and its extension to migrant workers.

Email your MP using Write to Them. You can still write to your MP if you have no fixed address, find out more via parliament.uk.

If you’re not sure what to say, here is something to get you started. 

Please ask the Prime Minister to: 
  • Provide meaningful support for those who have been self-employed for less than a year.
  • Ensure people who are part self-employed (at less than 50% of their total annual income) to access support through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
  • Remove the £50,000 cap in the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, as no equivalent cap exists for employed people, and pay people up to the cap.
  • Provide support for self-employed people who run as limited companies and pay themselves in dividends through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
  • Speed the Universal Credit application process up to cover the gap until support via the Self-employment Income Support Scheme is made available in June, or find an alternative method of covering the income gap.
  • Announce statutory sick pay that is really for all from day one of self isolation whether you have coronavirus or someone in your household does. 

Sign petitions in support  

There are lots of petitions making the rounds on social media. Here’s a list of petitions supported by the MU to sign and share if you can: