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The MU Cautiously Welcomes Government Road Map for Live Sector

While the five-step road map for getting theatres open is welcome, without sector specific financial support, many theatres will struggle to reopen their doors and much of the talent will be forced out of the profession.

Published: 26 June 2020 | 12:00 AM Updated: 06 July 2021 | 2:39 PM
Empty seats in the The Shakespeare's Globe theatre
"live sector is still left not knowing when it might be able to re-emerge with performances that will cover costs."Photo: Shutterstock

MU research shows that many of our members do not qualify for either of the Government‘s financial support schemes. 38% of musicians do not qualify for Government support, and 53% of theatre musicians fall through the gaps in the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Early results from a poll of young members indicate a similar trend.

A recent Treasury Select Committee report puts the number of those excluded across all sectors at over a million. The situation has since worsened as 1 in 5 of our members fear they may have to leave the profession.

Giving evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge outlined the Union's demands.

  • Close the gaps in SEISS
  • Extend support for arts, culture and entertainment workers after October
  • Introduce a cultural fund based on the German model
  • Undertake government review of streaming royalty distribution

The MU continues to actively encourage members to write to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak and their own MPs for support.

Commenting on the Government's latest statement, Horace Trubridge said:

"We are encouraged by the announcement from the Secretary of State Oliver Dowden, but the road map is currently not linked to any specific dates and so the live sector is still left not knowing when it might be able to re-emerge with performances that will cover costs.

"Moreover, almost every other country in Europe has made financial support packages available in order to ensure that the arts and culture in their country is not irreparably damaged. This Government needs to recognise that theatres, live music venues and concert halls need urgent financial assistance if they are to survive.

"The musicians who help bring these venues alive have suffered enormous financial loss and continue to do so. Whilst many other sectors go back to work, professional musicians need a financial lifeline to ensure they can stay in the profession."

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