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Calling the Government Out on Its Failure to Help Musicians

Our Head of Communications & Government Relations, Isabelle Gutierrez describes the “woefully inadequate,” response from the Government to protect musicians – and how we are lobbying against it.

Published: 06 August 2020 | 12:00 AM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:31 PM
Close up of a spotlight on the empty stage with copy space
We’ve called the Government out on its failure to help musicians to survive this period of income loss. Photo: Shutterstock

The Government response to the Covid-19 pandemic, in terms of its effect on musicians remains woefully inadequate, despite the headline announcements and figures. This coupled with the delay to the expected return of indoor live music and the postponement of the pilot schemes that the MU was due to be involved in have been a real disappointment.

Whilst the safety of members and the public is of course paramount, the MU has called the Government out on its failure to help musicians to survive this period of income loss and has asked the Secretary of State for Culture, Oliver Dowden, to properly engage with the music industry to solve the following problems:

  • The £1.57bn cultural fund is going almost exclusively towards helping venues and theatres to survive whilst forgetting the workforce
  • The SEISS and furlough schemes are due to end imminently, but most musicians are not yet able to return to work
  • 38% of MU members never qualified for either of the schemes in the first place

We need the Government to act

While the Government has been reluctant to engage with the industry, the Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Jo Stevens, has been having regular meetings with the MU and has raised a number of urgent questions in the House of Commons. On one such occasion more than 30 MPs spoke in parliament asking for the gaps in SEISS to be plugged.

Now we just need the Government to act, and the MU will continue to press for this on a daily basis. We sincerely thank all members who are helping by pressing their own MPs.

We’re also pressing the Government for clarity on the position of musicians given our upcoming departure from the EU. We are asking Ministers to make changes to the draft Free Trade Agreement to ensure that touring is not adversely affected, but there are concerns that time is running out.

Read more on how you can take action for musicians now.

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