UK Music acting chief executive Tom Kiehl today welcomed a number of recommendations to Government in a new House of Commons DCMS Select Committee report into the impact of COVID-19 on sectors including the cultural and creative industries.
Welcome recommendations include:
- Enhanced measures for freelancers and small companies in addition to the recently announced £1.57bn emergency funding package.
- Clear, conditional, timelines for reopening live performances, and technological solutions to enable audiences to return without social distancing.
- Long-term structural support to rebuild audience figures and investment.
- Sector specific furloughing and support for the self-employed for the creative industries until work and income returns to sustainable levels, as well as amending existing schemes so that they cover people who have been excluded to date.
- Cultural freelancers and small companies to be included in the creative industries eligibility for £1.57bn emergency funding.
- Extension of the cut in VAT on ticket sales for live music for the next three years.
- Introduction of a Music Tax Relief.
- Introduce a system to save ‘Assets of Cultural Value’ and build on recent ‘Agent of Change’ planning reform to protect venues or music studios from developments.
- Ensure funding reaches cultural sectors and institutions that are in need, irrespective of whether they have previously received subsidy.
- Am equitable distribution of cultural resources across all parts of the UK and support for BAME and disabled artists and audiences.
- By August, publish ‘no earlier than’ dates for stage 5 of its plan to reopen performing arts venues.
- The Cultural Renewal Taskforce to co-ordinate cross-sector work on technological solution to enable the safe return of ticket holders to events.
- Work with the insurance industry to introduce a long-term pandemic reinsurance scheme and establish an emergency fund to guarantee coverage for concerts and tours interrupted or abandoned due to COVID-19.
Commenting on the report, Mr Kiehl said: ‘This is a watershed report in the fight for survival for many companies and individuals working across the music industry following the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the whole sector.
‘DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP and members of the Select Committee are to be congratulated on the bold approach they have taken and for listening to evidence from UK Music that have informed many of the report’s welcome recommendations.
‘Eligibility for cultural funding needs to be as broad as possible so that no part of the music industry gets left behind. Gaps in existing support schemes need to be plugged and extended so that those that simply cannot work can continue to make ends meet.
‘Music also needs crucial tax reliefs and further financial incentives to stimulate our eventual revival and recovery.
‘UK Music has engaged with the DCMS throughout the pandemic and is very grateful for the assistance of ministers and officials.
‘The music industry was one of the first sectors of the economy to get hit by social distancing measures and could be one of the last to recover. The work is not done. The Government must continue to act.’