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Government Rebuked in Parliament Over Coronavirus Rules

Boris Johnson has been repeatedly criticised for a lack of clarity in rules and guidance aimed at tackling the pandemic – making things even more difficult for musicians who are trying to piece work together during this difficult time.

Published: 30 September 2020 | 12:00 AM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:31 PM
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It is simply unacceptable that advice governing people’s livelihoods often contradicts itself – sometimes even within the same document. Photo credit: Shutterstock

The speaker of the House of Commons today told the Government that it was treating Parliament with contempt by pushing through new powers to tackle coronavirus without debate. During Prime Minister’s Questions, which followed the rebuke, Boris Johnson was also repeatedly criticised for a lack of clarity in rules and guidance aimed at tackling the pandemic.

The MU has been arguing for more clarity for months now, as Government advice regarding what is and isn’t allowed in the live music arena changes on an almost daily basis. Whilst the nature of this pandemic does of course mean that some decisions must be made very quickly, it is simply unacceptable that advice governing people’s livelihoods often contradicts itself – sometimes even within the same document.

The Government must get its own house in order

Wherever these apparent contradictions occur we immediately contact the Government to ask for clarification, but lately replies have been taking weeks rather than days. One of the recent examples is two pieces of advice with regards to musicians playing at weddings in England – one saying that musicians are exempt from the 15 guests, and the other saying that they are not. We still have no clear response from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

We are editing and adding to the advice on the MU website several times a day in order to try and ensure that we give members the most up to date guidance possible. We now call on the Government to get its own house in order and make sure that the rules they are enforcing are clear and consistent.

Musicians are relying on this advice to try to piece together some work at this incredibly difficult time, and at the moment the Government is seriously letting them down.

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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