Petition launched to extend furlough scheme for live music industry

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s scheme is set to come to an end next month.

Maya Radcliffe
  • By Maya Radcliffe
  • 15 Sep 2020
  • min read

A new petition is calling for the furlough scheme to be extended for the live music industry.

The petition arrived after claims that a lot of music venues are physically unable to facilitate the social distancing measures required for gigs.

The general manager of the Production Services Association, Andy Lenthall, explained that workers in the music industry may be forced to opt for alternate careers if the furlough scheme is not extended.

He said: ‘We know that furlough is ending in October. We’ve already seen mass redundancies across our sector. For self-employment income support, the last grant will be paid this month and that’s it.

‘We’re looking at that gap between October and March until everyone’s back at work. During that period, we estimate the loss of earning will be somewhere between £60-70million. That’s a gap that we can’t plug, so we need the government to.’

The petition reads: ‘Without theatres and live music venues where will your culture grow? We need theatre from Shakespeare to Jack in the Beanstalk. Live music venues start people’s careers & I argue that Rap to Opera are as important to our culture as football & pubs.’

As a result of social distancing measures, concerts and festivals are unlikely to take place again in the UK until 2021 at the earliest.

In July, the Let The Music Play campaign demanded that the UK government shared the £1.57 billion arts funding package in a way that protects musicians, crew and individuals working behind the scenes.

In a joint letter, artists taking part in the campaign wrote: ‘UK live music has been one of the UK’s biggest social, cultural, and economic successes of the past decade. But, with no end to social distancing in sight or financial support from government yet agreed, the future for concerts and festivals and the hundreds of thousands of people who work in them looks bleak.

‘Until these businesses can operate again, which is likely to be 2021 at the earliest, government support will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies and the end of this world leading industry.’

The petition has already reached over 10,000 signatures. You can sign it here.