MPs warn Chancellor that arts and leisure sectors face mass redundancies without extension to job retention scheme

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This week, the DCMS Committee called on the Government to extend the furlough scheme for companies working in the arts and leisure sectors to prevent industry wide redundancies over the coming months and lasting into next year. The warning was backed by figures that show more than half of workers in the sectors remain dependent on furlough compared to 13% across all industries…

On Tuesday 8th September, the live music industry gave vital evidence on the devastating effects of COVID-19 and how important is to get back to full-capacity events. The evidence and figures from the industry joined international theatre impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber in providing evidence to the DCMS Select Committee.

The appearance before MP’s by Andrew Lloyd Webber came after the DMS committees letter to the Chancellor, which you can read here – Letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer, 3 September 2020

You can watch the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee meeting, where the financial viability of reopening performance venues that meet the government’s social distancing requirements was discussed, here on Parliament TV.

This evidence session was the second part of their Select Committee inquiry into the effects of COVID-19. After the Select Committee’s initial report highlighted how the pandemic is already leading to redundancies, closed venues and millions of pounds lost from the economy, they now turn their attention to how we get these industries back to full capacity.

The representatives from the live music industry advocated for the support that is desperately needed while their doors remain closed, including:

  • A conditional start date to be given as soon as possible in order to provide a clear timeline for a Stage 5 reopening
  • VAT extension – a three-year extension to the recently reduced 5% cultural VAT rate on tickets. The industry has not yet felt the benefit of this policy as no tickets are being sold.
  • Industry-specific insurance – A government-backed insurance scheme to provide the music industry with the necessary confidence to reopen when they are able.

Without these vital support measures, we will see large parts of the UK’s iconic live music industry in real turmoil heading into the winter.

The MIA continue to support and work with our friends and partners at organisations such as PLASA and the Music Venue Trust. Our own part of the music industry depends on Britain’s globally renowned live music scene. We will of course keep you updated on any actions taken by the Government.