06/10/2020: MPs will increase the pressure on the Government to help the UK’s Covid-hit music industry in a special House of Commons debate.
Conservative MP Nickie Aiken, whose Cities of London and Westminster constituency includes a host of music venues, has secured the debate, which will take place on Tuesday afternoon.
The debate comes as the industry steps up its calls on the Government to help the sector crippled by the impact of coronavirus, which has wiped out at least £900 million of the £1.1 billion that live music was expected to contribute to the UK economy in 2020.
MPs from across the political spectrum are expected to use the debate to outline the perilous future faced by those work in the music industry and the threat of closure hanging over dozens of venues.
Pre-Covid, the UK music industry contributed £5.2 billion a year to the economy, sustained 190,000 jobs and generated exports of £2.7 billion a year - according to figures compiled by UK Music, which is the collective voice for the UK music industry.
However, the impact on music and the creative arts since the March shutdown has been devastating. Particularly hard hit have been the 72% in the sector who are self-employed - many of whom are not eligible for Government financial support.
UK Music has called on the Government to give more support to the music industry, which cannot break even on events because of Government restrictions on social distancing.
UK Music has urged Ministers to support a Covid insurance vehicle to give live performances cover against cancellation forced by the virus and to extend support to supply chain businesses in the music industry and freelancers.
It has also called for an extension of VAT and business rate reliefs, an extension to protection from eviction and for rent breaks for music spaces to be considered.
The debate, titled The Contribution of Theatres, Live Music Venues and Other Cultural Attractions to the Local Economy, is scheduled to take place on Tuesday October 6th in Westminster Hall in the House of Commons between 2.30pm and 4pm.
Nickie Aiken MP said:
“As neighbourhoods and local economies look to recover from the pandemic it is vital to consider the impact that theatres, music venues and other cultural attractions have on their communities, both in terms of supporting finances and other business by providing jobs and footfall, but also more widely in terms of community benefit and wellbeing.
“I am delighted to have been able to secure this debate to highlight the issues to government and share our concerns.”
Welcoming the debate, UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said:
“Music venues are a vital part of local economies right across the UK. They bring huge financial and cultural benefits and are the beating heart of many communities.
“In addition to the direct jobs they create, venues generate vital extra trade for pubs and restaurants and benefit a host of other businesses, from taxi firms to take-away stands. These businesses rely on music venues and will struggle to survive as long as venues stay closed.
“As an industry, we are braced for this pandemic to continue for many months. But we need the right support to ensure we can make it through the other side and start delivering for local communities and local economies once again.
“We’re extremely grateful to Nickie Aiken for securing this debate and helping highlight the huge challenges facing our world-leading industry in the difficult times ahead.”