UK Music urges Chancellor to "back British music" and deliver "sounds of summer" for music fans 26 Feb 2021
UK Music has called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to back its new three-point plan to guarantee a summer packed with the best of British music.
Unveiling the plan before the Chancellor's Budget, UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said the music industry wanted to create a "truly memorable musical celebration" as the UK emerged from Covid-19 lockdown.
He welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement of three clear dates: April 12 for the start of pilot events; May 17 for indoor and outdoor events - with capacity limits and social distancing; and June 21 for large gigs and concerts with no social distancing.
However, Njoku-Goodwin said that the music industry needed urgent action in three key areas to help the industry deliver a music-filled summer and play its part in the post-pandemic recovery.
- Backstage planning: The Chancellor should extend the furlough and job support schemes, extend business rate relief and the 5% VAT rate on ticket sales and ensure the £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund continues until live music can get back on its feet.
- Getting the show on the road: Event organisers desperately need a Government-backed insurance scheme so they can book acts and build shows from May and June with the guarantee of some protection if Covid-19 forces cancellations.
- Building for the future: The Government should unlock the potential of the British music industry to help spearhead the economic recovery and deliver long-term growth and jobs. This should include action like boosting the successful Music Export Growth Scheme and creating a music exports office to help build on the £2.9 billion the music industry generates in UK exports.
The three-point plan for the Chancellor's March 3 Budget follows extensive talks between UK Music and the Government about reviving live music as soon as it is safe to do so.
It also builds on the successful #LetTheMusicPlay and #SaveOurSummer campaigns for a sector that generates £5.8 billion for the UK's economy and supports 200,000 jobs.
UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said:
"Everyone is determined to deliver the truly memorable musical celebration that we all need as we emerge from the terrible impact of Covid-19.
"We want the Chancellor to use his Budget to deliver the best of British sounds this summer and ensure live music is back to lift our spirits and help drive the post-pandemic recovery.
"We need the existing jobs support schemes, the business rate relief and the 5% VAT rate on ticket sales to continue until the music industry is back on its feet. The hugely welcome £1.57 billion Cultural Relief Fund should also continue.
"Critically, we must have a Government-backed insurance scheme so event organisers can plan with certainty and avoid financial ruin if Covid-19 forces fresh cancellations. With no insurance available, the risk of putting on events in June and July will be too great for many organisers to bear.
"If we fail to follow other governments that are offering insurance schemes to safeguard live music and events, the UK runs the risk of standing at the side of the dance-floor as other nations party through the summer.
"The Government support for the music industry has been a lifeline and we are incredibly grateful. However, it will all have been for nothing if it does not carry on until we can raise the curtain again on concerts, festivals and gigs.
"Our industry has worked tirelessly with the Government to explore testing, better ventilation and many other innovative solutions to make events safe – and we will be engaging enthusiastically with the Government's pilot schemes to ensure live music can return as soon as it's safe.
"While the astonishing vaccine success means the end of the health emergency is in sight, the economic toll of Covid-19 will be with us for a long time. Dynamic growth industries like the UK music industry will be more important than ever – and we want to play our part in driving the post-pandemic economic recovery.
"I am confident that with the right support, our world-leading live music scene will give us all an unforgettable summer by lifting the spirits of millions of music fans and spearheading a huge cultural and economic boost."
UK Music's call to the Government comes after Julian Knight MP, who chairs the Commons' Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, asked the Government to provide urgent support to help festivals go ahead. Mr Knight called on the Chancellor to extend an underwriting scheme offered to the film and TV industry to the music sector.
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