Save Live Music Campaign Launched
Updated: Nov 3, 2020
A new campaign has been launched by UK musicians, as the government’s original support packages for workers comes to an end this weekend.
Save Live Music calls for a “sector specific deal” for performing arts in order to “stop mass redundancies and the permanent closure of our culture infrastructure”.
In July the Commons Culture Select Committee made a series of recommendations to government in its report, Impact of COVID-19 on DCMS sectors: First Report. But the government has not yet acted on its recommendations.
In particular, the campaign calls for an end to the “unfair treatment of the self-employed” and calls for additional support for self-employed workers and small companies.
More than 75% of musicians are self-employed and under the new Winter Economy Plan (as amended on 22 October), which kicks in on 1st November, they are required to survive on just 40% of their usual salary, whilst those with salaried jobs get up to 95% of theirs.
Ed Barker, the campaign’s director, said:
“No musician I know wants a government handout – they want to get back to work. But whilst every other business has been able to open up to some extent, music venues have had to stay shut because of social distancing rules – and this is only getting worse as we hit the Winter months.
“We will see thousands of job losses, a huge spike in the welfare bill, and we risk undermining a generation of potential talent if the government doesn’t step in to give the music industry a hand until we can all get back to work. I don’t see the sense in supporting people from March to October, only to withdraw it in November when we’re still unable to do what we do best - why let musicians fall through the net now?
“This isn’t just about musicians’ livelihoods – it’s about the sort of country we want to live in when we are through this health crisis. Nobody wants to get through this only to find that we’ve got no live music to dance or sing along to, yet that’s exactly where we’re heading.
“Friends of mine that I was touring and performing with last year are starting new careers. Do we really want to allow this pandemic to chip away at our world-beating cultural infrastructure like this? Speaking as both a Conservative and a musician, that would be the most catastrophic self-inflicted market failure we could allow to happen.
“I hope people all over the country join our campaign to save live music. There is no need for Covid to decimate our entire industry, and we need to act with a unified voice in defending the industry we love working in and which provides so much joy to people all over the country.
"It would be unfair and short-sighted of the government to expect musicians and live entertainers to survive on their own when they’re told they can’t work. So let's support musicians and venues today because they will be instrumental tomorrow, not only in getting our country back on its feet again, but in reminding us what life is supposed to be about.”
This latest kick in the teeth for the self-employed comes after the first Self-employed Income Support Scheme couldn’t be claimed by around a quarter of the self-employed workforce (1.2 million people) or any of the 3 million sole company directors, due to holes in the government’s plans (see attached submission to the Treasury Select Committee).