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We’re Calling on the Chancellor to Open up the New Round of CRF Funding to Musicians

The announcement that the Chancellor will be providing another £300m for the Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF) is good news, but this new round of money must include funding for freelancers.

Published: 02 March 2021 | 1:35 PM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:32 PM
Graphic design on a twisting black and white shape on a bright yellow background, with a photograph of a musician performing on the bassoon with a concentratred expression on his face.
Being able to apply for grants from the Cultural Recovery Fund would be a lifeline for musicians in England, as we know it has been for some of their colleagues in the other nations.

Unlike in Scotland and Wales, individual freelancers in England have not been able to apply for CRF money, which has left them at a real disadvantage.

38% of MU members still do not qualify for the job retention scheme or SEISS, and being able to apply for grants from the Cultural Recovery Fund would be a lifeline, as we know it has been for some of their colleagues in the other nations.

The Chancellor must act to protect the future of music

MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge says:

“We urge the Chancellor to invest in musicians in tomorrow’s Budget announcement by making it clear that individual freelancers in England will finally be allowed to apply for some of this latest round of Cultural Recovery Fund money.

“Whilst we are obviously pleased that venues and theatres will be receiving additional support over the next few difficult months, we find it extremely unfair that a big proportion of the workforce that make these institutions what they are continue to be excluded.

“With 38% of musicians still ineligible for other financial support, the Chancellor must act to protect the future of music in this country.

“Allowing freelancers to apply for project funding from the CRF would be a good start, but we also urge him to look again at the huge numbers that are excluded from the SEISS scheme and make some adjustments.”

Today we’re calling on musicians to take part in our day of action

This Tuesday 2 March, call on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to invest in musicians across social media.

Share your story using our updated DIY graphic.

  1. Log in to your Google account if you have one, to access the graphic
  2. Make a copy of the template and customise it by switching out the text for your story and replacing the photo with one of your own
  3. Download the image and share it across social media using the hashtag #InvestInMusicians. Tag us using @WeAreTheMU on Twitter and Instagram, and @Musicians.Union on Facebook.

If you need any assistance, look at our more detailed instructions and email campaigns@theMU.org.

If you’ve already shared your story, please share it again on Tuesday. Your stories, your words, are essential to help us make the case for musicians.

Explore more musicians’ stories in our dedicated campaign hub and our Instagram Highlights, where you’ll also find musicians’ messages for Rishi Sunak.

Our call on the Government to Invest in Musicians

The case for support is clear and powerful:

  • Music is worth £5.8bn to the UK economy
  • 38% musicians are falling through gaps in support
  • Musicians are an entrepreneurial, community minded and highly skilled workforce
  • You have invested time and money into your career
  • Without Government support, over 70% musicians are uncertain of their future in the music industry.

That’s why we’re calling on Rishi Sunak to do 5 things in his Budget:

  1. Extend SEISS and furlough beyond April for sectors that cannot return to work
  2. Adjust SEISS to ensure that all musicians are covered in future rounds of funding
  3. Open up the next round of the Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF) to freelancers in England – in line with Scotland and Wales
  4. Introduce an insurance scheme for summer festivals and other events
  5. A subsidy for live events to happen with reduced capacity under social distancing

Explore our full list of asks – including changing the law on the Orchestra Tax Relief to include digital audiences.

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MU Expresses Horror at Proposed Halving of Funding for Music at HE in England

The Government has announced that it plans to impose a 50 percent funding cut to “high cost” subjects at higher education (HE) in England, including music. This is because music and the arts are not among its “strategic priorities”. Members are encouraged to respond to their consultation.

Read more about MU Expresses Horror at Proposed Halving of Funding for Music at HE in England