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Over 100 Organisations Including the MU Call for SEISS Extension

A joint letter is calling for Government to extend support for freelancers in the performing arts and entertainment industries after October.

A person walking towards the direction on an arrow on pavement
The joint letter highlights the challenges facing freelancers who make up one third of the creative workforce. Photo: Shutterstock

The MU is one of over 100 signatories to a joint letter to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak calling for Government to extend support for freelancers in the performing arts and entertainment industries after October.

Calling for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) to be extended until spring 2021, the letter highlights the challenges facing freelancers who make up one third of the creative workforce. 

Industry bodies are predicting an exodus of talent as musicians and performers will be unable to return to work properly until at least the middle of next year. 

The return to indoor live performances in England will not result in most musicians being able to return to work due to social distancing requirements, and the £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund is unlikely to reach workers. 

“Our members need to know that there will be support after October, not just for those who are eligible for the SEISS now but also those who fall through the gaps,” said MU Deputy General Secretary Naomi Pohl. 

Responding to the second round of the SEISS launching earlier this month, she said: “38% musician we surveyed do not qualify, many of our members’ workplaces will not reopen until next year, and live performances with significantly reduced audience capacity simply aren't economically viable. 

“We are calling for both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self Employment Income Support Scheme to be extended into early 2021 for those workers who cannot make a living while social distancing guidelines remain in place.

“We have been making these arguments to the Government since March and are increasingly concerned for the welfare of our members. If we don't get further help for them soon, we will see a mass talent exodus from music - and the arts in general," she added.  


Published: 20/08/2020

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