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An Urgent Letter to the Chancellor

This week’s lobbying update discusses our letter to Rishi Sunak, requesting that he urgently looks at the situation for musicians.

Photo ofIsabelle Gutierrez
By Isabelle Gutierrez Published: 06 January 2021 | 4:59 PM
Photograph of a keyboard, with a webcam set up over the keys. It appears to be a live stream.
Between 38% and 50% of our members still do not qualify for either of the Government’s financial assistance schemes. Photo credit: Shutterstock

With new lockdowns now in force across the UK, the MU is redoubling its efforts to secure financial assistance for members.

On 6 January 2021 we wrote to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, urgently requesting that he look at the situation for musicians. Thank you to all members who filled in the recent survey and have sent through case studies, as we highlighted these in the letter.

We made the following main points:

  • Between 38% and 50% of our members still do not qualify for either of the Government’s financial assistance schemes.
  • 50% of our members who do not qualify for SEISS are ineligible because less than half of their work is freelance, but they are also not eligible for furlough.
  • 15% had been self-employed for less than a year when SEISS began
  • 13% earn more than £50,000
  • 7.5% are limited companies
  • All categories of these musicians are now in severe financial difficulties.

Our call on the Treasury

We are asking the Treasury to urgently plug the gaps in the SEISS scheme and to consider other messages such as waiving the January 2021 tax bill for those who have fallen through the gaps in SEISS.

We are also asking the Treasury to allow DCMS and Arts Council England (ACE) to make some of the Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF) available as support for freelancers in England – as has happened in the devolved nations.

On top of this, we would very much like to see the Treasury, DCMS and ACE top up the CRF’s remaining project funds as a way of investing in musicians. Making funds available to enable individual musicians to keep working during this difficult period will shore up the industry for its post-pandemic recovery, and will provide an alternative to hardship funds.

Take action now

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Photograph of an orchestra set out in a socially distanced way, we can see all the musicians sat out across the stage in distanced positions, whilst a conductor gestures from the front.

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