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The Chancellor Must be Reminded That “Our Members’ Jobs are Entirely Viable Jobs”

In an ITV News interview today, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak suggested that musicians should retrain in different jobs. 

Photograph of an empty concert stage, with instruments set up to play but no musicians present.
We desperately need the Chancellor to expand the SEISS to cover more than 20% of monthly profits and plug the gaps. Photo credit: Shutterstock

In an ITV News interview today with Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor was pressed to respond to the musicians, actors and freelancers in the arts who don't feel currently supported. In response, the Chancellor discussed how “everyone is having to adapt.”

Our General Secretary Horace Trubridge highlights how musicians’ jobs remain entirely viable, and must be supported:

“The Chancellor’s comments this morning suggesting that musicians should retrain are very disappointing. We know that our members’ jobs are entirely viable jobs – the only reason they are currently unable to work is because of the Government’s Coronavirus restrictions.

“We have been working with the Government to try to ensure that all musicians are able to get back to work safely as soon as possible. But as things stand 70% are currently unable to do more than a quarter of their usual work. In the meantime, we desperately need the Chancellor to expand the SEISS to cover more than 20% of monthly profits and plug the gaps that mean that 38% of musicians are ineligible for the wage support schemes.

“We also urge the Treasury and the DCMS to allow Arts Council England to distribute some of the £1.57 billion dedicated to culture to individual freelancers – as the devolved administrations have done in Wales and Scotland.”

Action in Parliament Square

The Chancellor’s statement occurred whilst 400 socially distanced musicians were gathering in Parliament Square, to call on the Government to let music live.

Take action now

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.

Published: 06/10/2020

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