We're here to help through COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has already 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

We’ve joined forces with our partners at the PRS Members’ Fund and the PRS Foundation to launch the PRS Emergency Relief Fund.   

This money is available to PRS writer members globally and will be offered in grants of up to £1000 each, depending on need and eligibility.  

For more information and to apply, see our Emergency Relief Fund page

Your royalties

Your April distribution will go ahead as normal and will be in bank accounts on 15 April. We’re working hard to make sure that your July distribution is unaffected and will update you on this as soon as we can. 

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. 

AIM sign the petition which calls for a £15bn government funded Income Protection Fund for freelancers and the self-employed.  

Arts Council England – If you have a track record in being publicly funded, Arts Council England is offering grants of up to £2,500.  

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 launched a Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund, which offers a one-off payment of £500 for eligible musicians. They've also 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. 

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 frequently updating their 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 up-to-date 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. 

UK Music – the organisation signed a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, asking him to implement urgent measures to help the industry fight the impact of coronavirus. You can also read UK Music’s general advice on the situation. 

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. 

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 Support Scheme

The UK-wide Self-Employment Support Scheme will provide a taxable grant of 80% of your average monthly profits (up to £2500 a month).

It will run for a minimum of three months and it’s possible it may be extended. You can continue to work while receiving this support. It is expected that the first payments will be made no later than the beginning of June.

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 you haven’t submitted your 2018-2019 tax return yet, there is a four-week window to make sure that this is accounted for in any payments you may get from the scheme. This window closes on 23 April 2020. 

If you are eligible, HMRC will contact you directly and ask you to apply, so you won’t need to do anything. When your application has been approved, the payment will be sent directly to your bank account and will be single lump sum covering three months (March to May).

If you haven’t previously submitted a tax return, you will not be eligible and the advice is that you should apply for Universal Credit (see below for more information).

The scheme isn’t intended to cover anyone who pays themselves a salary through their own company. If this applies to you, your salary will be protected through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (see the ‘Do you run a business?’ drop down below for more information).

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.

VAT deferral

If your business is VAT registered, you won’t have to pay any VAT until the end of June.

You won’t need to do anything, this is automatic, and will apply from 20 March to 30 June.

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.

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 initially be open for three months but will be extended if necessary

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

HMRC is working to set up the online portal and is expected to pay the first grants in the next few weeks. Employers need to let their affected employees know, then submit the information on the platform. 

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.

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.

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.

Business rates

The Department of Finance has announced a £100m emergency rates package for businesses.

All businesses will pay zero rates for the next three months (April, May and June). This automatically reduces rates by 25%, in addition to any existing rate reliefs.

This applies to all businesses and does not need to be repaid.

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 on the industry and COVID-19:

This page was last edited on 27 March.
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