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Lobbying Update: Our Call on Rishi to Invest in Musicians

With two weeks to go until the next budget, getting our message through to Rishi Sunak is more important than ever.

Published: 17 February 2021 | 5:29 PM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:32 PM
A collage of image and graphic, a photograph of Rishi Sunak in a leather jacket and sunglasses, with the addition of an open mouth rockstar symbol and large text reading
As a result of your actions and your support for the MU’s lobbying work, hundreds of MPs have spoken up on behalf of musicians. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Thank you to every musician who has supported our #InvestInMusicians call so far. As a result of your actions and your support for the MU’s lobbying work, hundreds of MPs have spoken up on behalf of musicians and others who are still excluded from the Government’s financial support. But it is very disappointing that the Chancellor has not thus far addressed these concerns.

It is equally frustrating for us to have to correct Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage when she stated that the Cultural Recovery Fund has benefited many freelancers, as we know that in England this has just not been the case.

On Thursday 18 February, we’ll be calling on Rishi Sunak to open up the second round of the Cultural Recovery Fund to freelancers in England so they can benefit in the same way as freelancers in Scotland and Wales.

Putting pressure on the Chancellor

Over the next two weeks we will be putting even more pressure on Rishi Sunak to invest in musicians with video messages, stunts and social media activity in the lead up to the budget on Wednesday 3 March.

Our main asks will be:

  • Extension of SEISS and furlough beyond April for sectors that cannot return to work
  • Adjustment to SEISS to ensure that some of the previously excluded people can be covered in any new rounds of funding
  • In line with Scotland and Wales, open up the second round of Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF) money to freelancers
  • Treasury, DCMS and ACE to top up project funds from the remaining CRF as a way of investing in musicians.
  • A Government backed insurance scheme for summer festivals and other events

As things stand, Boris Johnson plans to set out his ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown next week and it is expected that some children will be returning to school from 8 March. Scotland has just announced that some younger children will be returning to school from next week but with the majority of pupils not going back until 15 March or later.

With such slow progress, we cannot reasonably expect live performance to be back on the agenda in the next month or so. But we would like to reassure members that the MU is hard at work behind the scenes to ensure that live music is able to come back as soon as it is allowed.

MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge is representing the MU on a number of different working groups looking at how safe reopening would work both in terms of health and safety and finances, and we continue to have discussions with the Government about subsidising socially distanced events once lockdown is over.

As we approach the year anniversary of the first lockdown, we will be pulling out every possible stop to get the Chancellor to provide some assistance to our members. This means we will be asking you, once again, to help us to keep up the pressure.

Add your voice to our call

Share your message for Rishi Sunak from 12 noon on Thursday 18 February, using the hashtag #BeARockstarRishi.

Not sure what to say? Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Freelancers in Wales and Scotland have been able to apply for support from the Cultural Recovery Fund. But musicians in England have not. #BeARockstarRishi and open up the next round of the Cultural Recovery Fund to freelancers in England too. #InvestInMusicians
  • With less than two weeks to go until the budget, it’s time to up the pressure on the Chancellor to invest in the musicians who make our £5.8bn music industry the best in the world. #BeARockstarRishi and #InvestInMusicians
  • Music is worth £5.8bn to the UK economy. #BeARockstarRishi and extend SEISS and furlough, and close the gaps in support for musicians across the UK. @RishiSunak #InvestInMusicians
  • Musicians are doing all they can to keep their heads above water. #BeARockstarRishi and do your bit. #InvestInMusicians and open up the next round of the Cultural Recovery Fund for freelancers in England too.

We’ll be announcing more ways to get involved next week so make sure you’re signed up to our regular coronavirus email updates, and following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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