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MU Conference Plea to New Prime Minister – Don’t Drag Us Off The Cliff

The first MU conference under General Secretary Horace Trubridge kicked off today with clear calls for the Government to protect freedom of movement for touring musicians and to invest in the music education sector.

Photo of conference voting on a motion
Votes being taken, photo credit: Musicians' Union

Delegates from across the UK passed motions on a wide range of issues, from protecting music education in schools to supporting business rate cuts for small live music venues.

Motion on improving diversity in orchestras passed unanimously

A motion aiming to improve diversity in orchestras was passed unanimously. Conference recognised the work of Chi-chi Nwanoku and the Chineke! orchestra in creating change.

As Nwanoku put it, “It’s probably impossible to change significantly the ethnic balance of an industry overnight. Perhaps Chineke!’s main achievement is showing that this talent exists.”

Conference also asserted its intention to tackle the continuing underrepresentation of women in some areas of the music industry.

Moving the motion, MU member Bill Sweeney questioned the gatekeepers to live performance, and radio and television. “Who’s making the decisions? Do they reflect the diversity of those around us?” he asked.

Fair remuneration for online streaming of music and the importance of the union’s political fund rounded up a busy day of debate.

UK Music will stand shoulder to shoulder with the MU over coming challenges

In a speech to Conference, Michael Dugher, CEO of UK Music, set out the huge economic value of the UK music industry to the economy.

Making a clear appeal to the new Prime Minister, he said, “You may be prepared to see a no deal Brexit. You may be willing to jump off the cliff. But please don’t throw the British music industry over there with you.”

Dugher praised the MU as a ‘great campaigning union’ and said that UK Music would stand shoulder to shoulder with the MU over the coming challenges, finishing off by stating that ‘reversing the decline of music in state education must be a priority for our new Prime Minister.’

You can read Dugher's full keynote speech on UK Music's website.

Praise for the MU punching above its weight in Westminister

Conference also welcomed Kevin Brennan MP, Shadow Minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and long-time MU member, to speak.

Brennan said, “The MU punches well above its weight in Westminster” as he went on to highlight some of the MU’s recent lobbying on music education, Brexit and instruments on planes.

Brenan committed to holding the Government to account on the implementation of the recent Copyright Directive.

He added, “We want to make this country the best in the world for being music friendly and musician friendly. We will hold this Government’s feet to the fire on the copyright directive.”

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Published: 23/07/2019

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