In a statement made on March 20 by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Sunak announced a job retention program for coronaviruses, in which the government will pay up to 80% of wages for those at risk ‘be fired due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, a new letter co-signed by Help Musicians president Graham Sheffield and CEO James Ainscough asked for clarifications and improved conditions. While acknowledging that the government’s plan represents an “important step,” the letter calls for more complete relief for independent musicians affected by the pandemic.
In its original statement, Sunak said the proposed scheme “would cover 95 percent of the self-employed.” Directly appealing to the Chancellor, Musicians’ help letter expresses concern that this means that many musicians will be absent.
“Many of our friends, including UK Music, the Musicians’ Union and the Incorporated Society of Musicians, have written to explain the shortcomings of this system that musicians can fall into, “the statement said.
“In particular those who have been self-employed for less than a year (or who have not yet made a profit), who are partly self-employed (at less than 50% of their total annual income) or who earn just over £ 50,000 caps. “
Our survey shows that 25% of self-employed musicians believe that they are not eligible for the self-employed income support plan.
– Helping musicians (@HelpMusiciansUK) April 9, 2020
The letter also explained that, in a survey of more than 2,000 musicians, 87% identified themselves as independent – 25% of whom said they would not be eligible for independent support under the current government regime, specifically for these reasons.
“While we agree that” the perfect must not be the enemy of the good “, our survey results show today that the good is not good enough yet,” said the letter in summary.
“Therefore, we urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to reconsider the rules and thresholds in your proposals in order to integrate all independent musicians into the program, which they desperately need. »Read the full letter here.
Help Musicians CEO James Ainscough previously co-authored a similar letter from UK Music requesting additional support for independent musicians on March 21, the day after Sunak’s official announcement.