The UK Council of Music Makers (CMM), comprising FAC, The Ivors Academy, MMF, MPG and the MU are calling on the Government to urgently implement a sector-specific funding package to support individual workers of the music industry – an asset worth £5.2bn GVA to the economy.
The open letter reads as follows:
As the united voice of music creators and performers, CMM writes to you in consideration of preserving the workforce, the highly-skilled foundation of the music industry. While we welcome the provisions in the Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan - VAT reduction, Bounceback Loan payback extension, extension to SEISS and the Job Support Scheme - these measures do not go far enough for our industry.
Events, arts and culture industries have three times more the national average of workers on furlough and the music industry has a freelance workforce of 72% (a portion of some 190,000 jobs), many of whom continue not to qualify for support under such schemes. The implication that the occupations of many in this world-beating music business are not ‘viable’ does not marry with its large-scale contribution to the economy.
A recent Musicians’ Union survey of 2000 of their members showed the following:
- 34% musicians may quit the industry due to COVID-19.
- 47% have been forced to look for work outside of music.
- 70% are unable to do more than a quarter of their usual work.
- 87% covered by furlough and SEISS will face financial hardship when schemes end in their current form.
- 88% do not think that Government has done enough to support musicians.
In addition to other restrictions, as we look to another business quarter with no live music, and nowhere in sight for it to return in full, we urgently need support to avoid the decay of our industry, the hardship experienced by our workforce and the mass exodus of highly-skilled individuals, which will result in irreparable damage to lives, businesses and the world-class standing of the UK music industry.
Institutions that have access to the Culture Recovery Fund largely do not have the ability to provide trickle-down opportunities to individuals that make up the workforce at this time, with current restrictions in place.
We must see specific support for these individuals, now, before we experience damaging industry-wide loss. Grants provided by the likes of Arts Council and Help Musicians do not replace the huge losses faced by so many workers.
Scotland and Wales have substantial freelance hardship grants in place for those excluded from current government support schemes. In the music industry those excluded include many workers set up as limited companies, new starters, £50k+ earners and <50% freelancing.
While the CRF is current, we urge you to allocate a portion as grants to these unsupported freelancers, available as soon as possible, while a longer-term support system is considered.