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Lobbying Update: SEISS and Furlough Extensions Confirmed

As England heads into a month-long lockdown and the other nations consider their next steps, the MU has welcomed the extension of the furlough and SEISS schemes.

Published: 05 November 2020 | 12:00 AM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:31 PM
Photograph of a musician playing saxophone at home, playing into a webcam that is set up to record.
Both schemes will be available to musicians in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as England. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Although the extension is welcome, we remain acutely aware that aware that 38% musicians are still not eligible for either of these schemes and MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge has been involved in discussions with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) aimed at trying to plug these gaps.

Having initially only committed to a month’s extension, the Chancellor today confirmed that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS, also referred to as Furlough) will now run until the end of March with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked.

He also confirmed that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be increased, with the third grant covering November to January calculated at 80% of average trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500.

Both schemes will be available to musicians in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as England, even if there is no full lockdown in these nations.

Government must plug the gaps

MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge says:

“Although some members will be able to do a limited amount of recording or teaching work during this lockdown, the fact remains that for the vast majority of musicians the new restrictions will effectively put an end to their ability to work. We are grateful that the Chancellor has recognised this.

“However, we have been telling the Government for months now that 38% of musicians are not eligible for either of these financial support schemes and that they must plug these gaps. Recently I have held discussions with DCMS aimed at rectifying this issue and at finding ways to invest in our musicians at this difficult time.

“I urge our members who are unable to access these grants to get in touch with the MU so that we can raise their case with Ministers and I would also like to remind members of the MU’s hardship fund and subs holiday.”

Take action now

It’s welcome news that the Government have extended their support for the self-employed, however it’s vital that they take steps to protect the musicians who fall through the gaps.

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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