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22 MPs sign early day motion calling for more support from the UK government for the COVID hit music community

By | Published on Thursday 1 July 2021

Houses Of Parliament

A total of 22 MPs have signed an early day motion in Parliament calling on the UK government to introduce a number of measures to help the music industry get back on its feet as COVID regulations slowly start to lift.

MPs from the Conservative Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, SNP and other parties have now signed the motion, which begins by noting the recent delay in moving to stage four of the government’s COVID roadmap which would allow full-capacity gigs and concerts to return.

It then also notes that “many music businesses and freelance workers have been without work since March 2020 and that, in 2020, 70% of musicians lost over three quarters of their work due to COVID-19 restrictions”. It then says that signatories to the motion believe that “the COVID-19 outbreak presents a profound challenge to music businesses and music workers in the UK’s world-leading music sector” and “that those workers and businesses are a national asset who will be critical to the [post-COVID] recovery”.

With all that in mind the motion makes five demands. That includes that previous COVID support schemes, many of which become less substantial as of today, are extended in line with the further delays in moving to stage four. And also another call for ministers to establish a state-backed cancellation insurance scheme, to allow larger events due to take place later this year to continue with their event planning despite risks COVID restrictions could as yet further extend.

Other demands include that there is parity across the UK when it comes to business rates relief, where English businesses are currently at a disadvantage; that ministers agree to continue the discounted 5% VAT rate on tickets beyond September; and that additional support be made available for freelancers.

Early day motions are rarely debated in Parliament itself, but it’s a simple way for MPs to formally support certain proposals and to put further pressure on ministers to act on specific issues.

Welcoming this motion, the boss of cross sector trade group UK Music, Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, said this morning: “It’s welcome to see support for the UK music industry from MPs right across the political spectrum. Now it’s vital that this cross-party support is converted into action by government”.

“We are determined to play our part in helping drive the post-pandemic recovery and want to see live music events back as soon as possible”, he added. “With the right support from the government, the music industry can get back on its feet and deliver a summer of live music and create thousands of jobs”.

Among those signing the motion are Labour MP Kevin Brennan, also a member of Parliament’s culture select committee; Liberal Democrat MP Jamie Stone, also his party’s culture spokesperson; and Conservative MP David Warburton, also chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group On Music.

The latter said: “I’m acutely aware of how challenging this pandemic has been for musicians and the broader music industry – and this situation has only been made worse by the delay to the COVID roadmap. I’m delighted that the government has … extended the ban on commercial evictions and supported many music venues, but more support is urgently needed to match the extension of restrictions. Our excellent music industry is national asset and it needs our support, now more than ever”.