We're here to help through COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on our industry.  

We understand that your livelihood is at risk and we want to do whatever we can to support you in this time of need. The aim of this page is to direct you to resources that may be able to help you through these difficult times. 

We’ll keep this page up to date with the latest information.

Our Emergency Relief Fund

Emergency Relief Fund

Applications for the Emergency Relief Fund are now closed.

We're pleased to say that the Fund raised £2.1m and helped over 4,000 members in need.

Please keep an eye on this page for further developments.

Your royalties

We know how important your royalties are and now more than ever we want to make sure you receive your money as quickly as possible. There are a few things you can do on our website to help: 

Register your music  

Make sure that we have your latest music in our system so we are able to pay you when your music is used. To register your music, head over to our dedicated webpage

Keep your account details up to date

Do you need to change your bank account details or your address? Now is the time to do so. We need this information to pay you, so it’s important that it’s correct.  

Check unpaid royalties 

Sometimes music is used and we’re unable to identify who to pay. You can check our unpaid royalties page to see if any of your music is included and if it is, you can make a claim.  

Resources from across the industry

Below we’ve listed what our friends across the music industry are doing to help during the pandemic. 

Arts Council England – the National Lottery Project Grants is open for applications. It supports thousands of individual artists, community and cultural organisations.

BPI – head over to BPI’s website to find useful information for those that work in the music industry. 

Help Musicians UK – the charity has put together a dedicated website that includes lots of information about COVID-19 and the industry.

Incorporated Society of Musicians – if you are a member, ISM has a 24 hour support helpline and offers face-to-face counselling.  

Musicians’ Union – The MU has introduced a Coronavirus Hardship Fund for their members. They're also offering a three month payment holiday on their membership fees.

Music Managers Forum - MMF is gathering evidence of the impact COVID-19 has on music creators and their representatives. Head over to their website to fill in the form. They’re also have a general coronavirus advice page.  

Music Support - a helpline for anyone in the music industry suffering from alcoholism, addiction, emotional or mental health issues. 

PRS Foundation - If you are a recipient or applicant of a grant, head over to the PRS Foundation website to find information on how its funding is being affected. 

PRS Members' FundThe charity provides support and advice to PRS members and their families who are struggling financially, physically or emotionally and are in need of help.

The Royal Society of Musicians – if you are a member, RSM accepts applications for financial assistance. 

Samaritans - the charity provides emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope or at risk of suicide. Take a look at their mental health support resources online or call their free helpline and one of their volunteers will be there to listen. 

UK Music – the organisation have put together a general advice webpage with more information on what the music industry is doing to tackle COVID-19.

We’ll continue to add to this list as more resources become available. You can also follow #musicbusinessadvice on Twitter to find the latest industry updates. 

Live streaming: advice for music creators

With enforced venue closures during the current pandemic, lots of activity that would have happened live is now being live streamed online. This includes everything from gigs, concerts and DJ sets to fitness classes and church services.

If you’re a music creator, we’re sure you’re wondering what this might mean for your royalties, so we’ve put together this list of FAQs on live streaming, with the answers we’re able to give at this time.

Information for licensees

We’re here to help you. Please contact us if you need help or advice about your licence or account.

  • Licensees can contact us on applications@prsformusic.com or call on +44 (0)20 3741 3888, 9am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday 
  • Licensees with designated Account Managers should continue to contact them as normal
  • If you are looking to live stream, we have information for you on our streaming music page
  • Licensees in Malta can access information specific to their territory on our managed territories page
  • Public performance customers who hold TheMusicLicence should contact PPL PRS directly.

Government advice

You can find the latest government advice below.

Here is the latest government advice for those that are self-employed.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The UK-wide Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will provide a taxable grant of 80% of your average monthly profits (up to £7500).

You need to have been self-employed in the 2018-2019 tax year and continue to be for 2020-2021 in order to be eligible.

You must also be making more than 50% of your income from self-employment and earning less than £50,000 a year, or you have an average trading profit of less than £50,000 for the 2016-2017, 2017-2018 and 2018-19 tax years. 

If your business has been impacted by coronavirus and you earn at least half of your income through self-employment, have trading profits of no more than £50,000 per year, traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted your Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year you are also eligible for the scheme. 

Claims for the first grant are now closed, however the second round is now open. If you’re eligible and your business has been affected on or after 14 July 2020, you'll need to make your claim for the second grant before 19 October 2020.

  • You can make a claim even if you didn't make a claim for the first grant.
  • You must make the claim yourself. You can't ask a tax agent or adviser to claim on your behalf as this will trigger a fraud alert, which will delay your payment.

You’ll have to confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected due to coronavirus.

For more information visit the government website

Income tax

If you pay tax under the Self-Assessment system, your 31 July payment has been delayed.

This means that you won’t have to pay your income tax until 31 January 2021. 

This will apply to those that are self-employed automatically, you won’t need to do anything.

Self-isolation

If you become ill or are advised to self-isolate, the Chancellor has announced that you will be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from day one instead of day eight.

This means that you’ll be able to access Universal Credit, in full, which is at the same rate as statutory sick pay.

You can find more information on the government website.

Universal Credit 

The basic allowance for Universal Credit will be increased by £1000 a year, or £83 a month (for one person), and the working tax credit allowance will also be increased.

The Minimum Income Floor (the formula used to work out how much Universal Credit you should get when you’re self-employed) will not be applied for a period of time while you are affected. This means self-employed people will be treated the same as employed people in the Universal Credit system.

If you are self-employed and want to find out more and whether you are eligible for Universal Credit, visit the government website.

Tax liabilities

If you have outstanding tax liabilities, you can access support via HMRC’s Time to Pay Service, to discuss whether you might be able to pay in instalments.

The service operates on a case-by-case basis and is open to any business or self-employed person who pays tax to the UK government.

You can visit the government website or call their helpline for advice on 0800 0159 559.

Paying your rent

If you’re having trouble paying your rent, the government has announced a ban on evictions for the next three months.

You can find more information about this on the government website

Paying your mortgage

If you’re having trouble paying your mortgage, you could be eligible for a mortgage payment holiday.

You’ll need to contact your bank for more information on this.

Here is the latest government advice for businesses.

Tax liabilities

If you have outstanding tax liabilities, you can access support via HMRC’s Time to Pay Service, which gives you the opportunity to pay in instalments.

The service operates on a case-by-case basis and is open to any business or self-employed person who pays tax to the UK government.

You can visit the government website or call their helpline for advice on 0800 0159 559.

Tax deferrals

Businesses are to be given more time and flexibility over deferred tax bills. 

Under the initial scheme, payments were due in March. The revisions mean that businesses can instead spread their VAT bill over 11 payments with no interest to pay. 

Any self-assessed income tax payers who need extra help can also now spread their outstanding tax bill over 12 months from January.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

 

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been set up by HMRC to prevent mass layoffs in the private sector by supporting all employers in keeping their staff on the payroll. They’re committing to paying up to 80% of the salary of PAYE workers who have been asked to stop working.

  • This is capped at £2,500 per month
  • Businesses can choose to top up this amount
  • The scheme will be backdated to 1 March 2020
  •  It will be open until the end October 2020

All UK-based employers with a PAYE scheme are eligible. 

From the start of August, new more flexible rules will be introduced which will allow furloughed workers to be brought back to work part-time. Employers will be asked to contribute a greater percentage of the salary to their furloughed staff, while the government share will be reduced. 

Employers need to let their affected employees know if they are being furloughed, then submit the information on HMRC's online portal. Your employer is responsible for claiming through the Job Retention Scheme on your behalf and for paying you what you are entitled. You can't apply for the scheme yourself.

In order to encourage the protectection of jobs, the government will pay businesses a £1,000 bonus for every furloughed employee they keep on until the end of January 2021. These workers must be paid an average of at least £520 a month between November and January.

Job Support Scheme

From 1 November, the Job Support Scheme (JSS) will replace the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Via the JSS, the government will directly support the wages of people in work, giving businesses that face suppressed demand the option of keeping employees in roles on shorter hours rather than making them redundant. The scheme will run for six months. Employers participating in the JSS may also access the Jobs Retention Bonus (described above). 

  • Employees must work at least a third of their normal hours and get paid for that work as normal by their employer to be eligible for the scheme.The government will then pay the two-thirds of the salary that is lost due to the reduction in working hours. As an example, in a case where an employee works a third of their usual hours, the employer pays 33% as normal. Of the 66% remaining, the employee will receive two thirds, i.e. 44%. 22% of that will come from the government and 22% from the employer.
  • All small and medium sized businesses are eligible, however larger companies may only access the scheme if they can show that their turnover has declined due to the pandemic. 
  • It will be open to employers across the UK even if they have not previously used the furlough scheme.

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate

Small and medium-sized businesses based in the UK will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for staff sickness due to coronavirus. This refund will cover up to two weeks of SSP for every eligible employee.

This scheme is open to companies who employ less than 250 people as of 28 February 2020.

The government is working with employers to set up this up as soon as possible and more details will be released soon.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme 

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme has been set up to support all small and medium-sized businesses in accessing loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance.

  • Businesses can access up to £5 million and for up to six years
  • The government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any fees 
  • 80% of the amount will be guaranteed by the Government.

The government has announced that this scheme will be extended for up to ten years and the deadline of all loan schemes will be extended to the end of the year. Work is underway to introduce a new loan guarantee programme, to be announced in January.

If you are a small or medium-sized business based in the UK with a turnover of no more than £45m a year and meet other British Business Bank eligibility criteria, you can apply for the scheme.

You can find more information and apply on the British Business Bank website.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme 

The Bounce Back Loan scheme is for small and medium-sized businesses and provides loans from £2,000 up to £50,000.

The government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan and pay any fees and interest for the first year, with no payments due during that time.

The Treasury is adopting a 'pay as you grow’ approach to repayments.

  • Businesses will have the option to extend the term from six to ten years nearly halving the average monthly repayment due
  • Businesses can choose to make interest only payments
  • For those that are really struggling, you can apply to suspend repayments altogether for up to six months. This will not affect your credit rating.

Applications are open now and firms will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders.

You can find more information about the application process on the British Business Bank website.

Hospitality and tourism

To support hospitality and tourism, the VAT rate will remain at 5% until 31 March 2021. 

England

The following information is for businesses in England only. You’ll find more information on schemes available in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland below.

Small Business Grant Funding

Small Business Grant Funding will give additional funding to local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because they are eligible for small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and/or tapered relief.

The scheme will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their business costs.

To be eligible, you need to be: 

  • Based in England
  • A small business and already receive SBRR and/or RRR
  • Occupying a property 

Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant and if you have any questions you should contact them. You can find your local authority on the government website.

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year.

Businesses that have already received the retail discount in the 2019-20 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

Eligible businesses include:

  • Shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • Those that are used for assembly leisure 
  • Hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

You won’t need to do anything, your local authority will do this automatically.

If you’re not sure whether your business qualifies as retail, hospitality or leisure, you can go to the government website for more information.

Cash grant for retail, hospitality and leisure

Retail, hospitality or leisure businesses could be eligible for a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

Businesses with a value of under £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000 while businesses with a value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

Eligible businesses include:

  • Shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • Those that are used for assembly leisure 
  • Hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

You won’t need to do anything. If you’re eligible your local authority will get in touch to let you know how to make a claim and you should contact them if you have any questions.

Scotland

The following information is for businesses in Scotland only. You’ll find more information on schemes available in England above, and Wales and Northern Ireland below.

The Scottish Government has announced a fund of £2.2 billion to support Scottish businesses. 

Business rates

Retail, hospitality and tourism businesses will be granted a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief.

This will be available to non-domestic properties from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.

All properties will receive 1.6% relief, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year

This will be automatically applied by your local authority, so you won’t need to do anything. 

Grants for small businesses

A grant of £10,000 will be available for small businesses who have received funding from the Small Business Bonus Scheme or the Rural Relief scheme and have a rateable value up to £18,000.

You can apply from 24 March 2020 and the grants will be available until 31 March 2021.

The application form will be on your local authority’s website.

Grants for hospitality, leisure and retail businesses

Grants of £25,000 will be available for hospitality, leisure and retail businesses who have a rateable value between £18,001 and £51,000.

You can check whether your business is eligible on the Scottish government website.

You can apply from 24 March 2020 and the grants will be available until 31 March 2021.

The application form will be on your local authority’s website.

You can use the Scottish Enterprise business support finder to find out what other support may be available.

You can also contact HMRC on 0800 0159 559 for help and advice.

Wales

The following information is for businesses in Wales only. You’ll find more information on schemes available in England and Scotland above, and Northern Ireland below.

The Welsh Government has announced funds of £1.4 billion to support businesses.

Business rates

Retail, hospitality and tourism businesses will be granted a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates holiday.

This will be automatically applied by your local authority, so you won’t need to do anything.

Grants for small businesses

Grants of £25,000 will be available for hospitality, leisure and retail businesses who have a rateable value between £12,001 and £51,000.

All businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief with a rateable value of £12,000 or less will have access to a £10,000 grant.

You can find out more information on the Business Wales website.

The Welsh Government has announced the Development Bank of Wales will be offering all its business customers a three-month capital repayment holiday.

You can contact HMRC on 0800 0159 559 for help and advice and the Business Welsh Helpline on 0300 060 3000.

Northern Ireland

The following information is for businesses in Northern Ireland only. You’ll find more information on schemes available in England, Scotland and Wales above.

Grants for small businesses

Small businesses will be eligible for a grant of £10,000. This covers all businesses with a Net Annual Value (NAV) of their business property up to £15,000. 

You can apply on the NI Business Info website.

Grants for hospitality, leisure and retail businesses

Grants of £25,000 will be available for hospitality, leisure and retail businesses who have a rateable value up to £51,000.

You can apply on the NI Business Info website

You can contact HMRC on 0800 0159 559 for help and advice and the Invest NI Helpline on 0800 181 4422.

M Magazine

Check out our latest articles from M Magazine for advice relating to COVID 19:

This page was last edited on 28 September.
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