Incorporated Society of Musicians Media Briefing on Covid-19
Responding to today’s Opposition Day Debate in the House of Commons, the Incorporated Society of Musicians’ Chief Executive, Deborah Annetts, said: ‘We are pleased that politicians are listening to calls from across many industries and debating the need for targeted income support for self-employed people in sectors of the economy that have been hardest hit by the coronavirus.
‘COVID-19 has devastated the music profession, with recent evidence showing that the arts, entertainment & recreation is the sector worst-affected by the economic impact of coronavirus. The reality of socially distanced performances means that most venues simply cannot afford to reopen, leaving the vast majority of self-employed musicians without work and in desperate financial difficulty.
‘That is why over 120 organisations from across the creative industries called on the government to provide a tailored financial scheme for our self-employed workforce until venues can safely and fully reopen. If they do not support the lifeblood of the performing arts, then we are looking at an exodus of highly skilled talent. We urge the government to work with the ISM and other industry leaders to prevent the devastation of our world leading sector.’
Later today (Wednesday, 9 September), Parliament will debate extending the coronavirus support schemes. The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) has worked extensively on this issue. Please find our latest briefing here
A letter coordinated by the ISM and Equity and signed by over 120 organisations from across the creative sector was sent to the Chancellor on 19 August 2020. Covered by The Guardian, it called on the government to extend financial support for freelancers working in the performing arts and entertainment industries.
The latest research by the Office for National Statistics showed that the arts, entertainment & recreation is the worst affected sector by Coronavirus. We have the highest proportion of the workforce furloughed, the highest self-rated risk of insolvency and most decreased footfall.
The Government is working on a plan to reopen venues which may include safe alternatives to social distancing, specific testing programmes and financial support measures.
A recent survey found that 64% of UK musicians are thinking about leaving the music business altogether. Since March, 40% have applied for a non-music job, and 41% of the 568 respondents hadn’t received any government support during the disruption of the pandemic.
On 7 September, the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee called on the government to extend the furlough scheme for companies working in the arts and leisure sectors to prevent industry wide redundancies.
On 8 September, the DCMS committee heard from industry leaders including Andrew Lloyd Webber who warned that the arts are at a ‘point of no return’. This was covered by the BBC, Sky News and many other outlets.
The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK’s professional body for musicians and a nationally-recognised subject association for music. Since 1882, we have been dedicated to promoting the importance of music and protecting the rights of those working in the music profession. We support over 10,000 musicians across the UK and Ireland with our unrivalled legal advice and representation, comprehensive insurance and specialist services. Our members come from all areas of the music profession and from a wide variety of genres and musical backgrounds.