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Chancellor Announces Changes to Job Support Scheme and SEISS

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the next round of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme would rise from 20 to 40% of “people’s incomes” in a statement to the House of Commons.

Published: 22 October 2020 | 12:00 AM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:31 PM
Photograph of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, taken from across Westminster Bridge. The Thames is visible below, and behind the sun is rising with a golden glow.
There are no measures to create parity with employees or close gaps in support that 38% musicians have fallen through in previous rounds. Photo credit: Shutterstock

The Chancellor’s announcement on Thursday 22 October means that, as well as SEISS increasing from 20 to 40%, the maximum grant will also be increased to £3,750 from £1,875. The Treasury estimates this will be an additional £3.1bn of support from November to January.

However, there were no measures to create parity with employees or close gaps in support that 38% musicians have fallen through in previous rounds of the SEISS. Detailed guidance is yet to be published.

We are also seeking clarification on if it’s 40% of income or trading profits, and will update members as soon as we know more.

The Government must invest in the people who make the music industry

Commenting on the changes, MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge said, “The UK’s music industry is a viable industry which the Government’s Covid-19 restrictions are keeping closed. They now have a responsibility to look after this industry, and the musicians and freelancers who make it the envy of the world.

“Increasing the SEISS from 20% to 40% is a sign that the Government is listening to the Musicians’ Union and others. But 40% is still not enough. Right now, 70% of our members are unable to undertake more than a quarter of their usual work and 36% have no work at all.

“Our members are creative, pioneering, entrepreneurial people who have invested a huge amount of time and money in honing their talent. They should be receiving an equal level of support as people on PAYE.

“Over a third of our members are actively considering leaving the industry, and 37% are not sure of their future in music. Without investment in the people who make the music industry great, we risk a mass exodus of talent and skills.”

Other changes to the Job Support Scheme

Also announced were changes to the Job Support Scheme (JSS). Employer contributions will be cut from 33% to 5% under the new JSS Open. The new version of the scheme also reduces minimum hours requirements to 20% to cover those working one day a week.

The JSS Closed – targeted at businesses legally required to close – and Job Retention Bonus both stay the same.

Additional business grants for the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector in England were also announced.

More details on all of these are available via HM Treasury, with guidance expected shortly.

Take action now

Join our urgent call to the Government to do more, in order to safeguard the future of the UK’s music culture and industry – ask your MP to make your voice heard in Parliament.

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.

Write to your MP now.

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