COVID-19: Write to your MP about the measures for the employed
On Friday 29 May, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced more detail about the scaling back of the Government’s contributions through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which will run until October. Due to the likely continuation of restrictions on mass gatherings, affecting live performances, many businesses and organisations in the music sector will struggle to meet their furlough employer contributions, even later in the year. This template letter requests that your MP calls on the Chancellor to reconsider his decision to scale back the Government’s contributions, and provide the support our sector so desperately needs.
If you are also a self-employed musician, click on the button underneath the letter to be taken to the template regarding measures for the self-employed.
Name of local MP
Dear [Name of your local MP]
As one of your constituents, I am writing to let you know that while it is a welcome development that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until the end of October, the scaling down of Government contributions through the Scheme will have a significantly negative impact on the music sector, in which I work.
As you will know, for much of the music industry an entire year of trade and income has been wiped out as a result of COVID-19, and our sector is now facing a number of serious obstacles that must be overcome if it is to remain world-leading. We must not forget that the UK music industry contributes £5.2bn to the economy each year, and music is central to the UK’s soft power and its place on the world stage
The CJRS has provided much-needed support for music organisations, businesses and their employees. But with social gathering restrictions set to stay in place for the foreseeable future there will be no immediate return to business as usual for large parts of the music sector, especially the thousands of music venues that require near full capacity crowds to turn a small profit. For example, the Southbank Centre, which is the UK’s largest arts and cultural organisation, warned that it will have used up its financial reserves by September, forcing its closure until April 2021 unless it gets further government support.
While the contributions that employers are expected to make towards the latter stages of the scheme are at first glance reasonable, due to these unique sectoral challenges many businesses in the music sector will simply not be able to afford these contributions, risking bankruptcy and redundancies. This would be catastrophic for our sector and the cultural and economic value it generates.
I am therefore requesting that you ask the Government to urgently reconsider the decision to scale down their contributions to the CJRS and extend the furlough scheme in full.