06/03/2020: UK Music’s Acting CEO Tom Kiehl has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak with a four-point plan to boost growth in the music industry ahead of his March 11 Budget.
He highlighted how the Budget presented the newly appointed Minister with a “huge opportunity” to further boost growth in the music industry which contributes £5.2 billion a year to the UK economy.
In his letter (here), Mr Kiehl praised the Government for making “great advances” in fulfilling its manifesto pledge to extend business rate relief to support grassroots music venues.
But he highlighted the vital importance to the industry of the Government’s ability to secure a post-Brexit trade deal and ensure the UK maintained its world-leading standards in copyright protection.
He urged the Chancellor to adopt a four-point plan in his Budget to maximise the potential of the music industry that sustains more than 190,000 jobs in the UK and generates exports of £2.7 billion.
The UK Music chief said the Government should act in four key areas – fiscal incentives, international trade support, shared parental leave and rehearsal rooms.
On fiscal incentives, Mr Kiehl said: “The UK music industry believes a focused fiscal incentive could pump-prime the capital market for music investment, thereby invigorating the digital opportunity for UK music creators and putting them on a more even footing with their international competitors.
“Such an incentive would also enable labels and publishers to take on further risk in backing additional investment in a broader range of innovative talent, expanding the base of original content that we have to export, and establishing the UK as the world’s highest quality and most favourable music production ecosystem.”
On rehearsal rooms, he urged the Government to expand and enhance the opportunities these spaces offer to young people.
Mr Kiehl said: “Talent is everywhere but opportunity is not. Socio-economic circumstance should not create barriers for participation in music.”
On shared parental leave, he reiterated UK Music’s call for the Government to update shared parental leave and pay rules to include self-employed parents as part of the #SelfieLeave campaign.
Mr Kiehl said: “The current inflexible system is holding back equality in the music industry, where 72% of all workers are self-employed.
“At present, there is no shared parental leave and pay system in place for self-employed parents. The current system of Maternity Allowance for the self-employed places the entire burden of childcare onto the mother and offers no financial support for self-employed fathers or same sex partners wanting to share some or all of the childcare.”
On international trade, Mr Kiehl called for the renewal and extension of the highly successful Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) to help UK artists grow their audiences abroad.
Mr Kiehl also called on the Chancellor to allay industry fears about coronavirus and its potential impact on the economy, as well as public health.
Mr Kiehl said: “There is a need for continued regular communication with the sector in this fast moving situation, as well as consideration of financial support to ensure festivals, concerts and music businesses can get through potentially challenging months.”
Read the letter to the Chancellor here.
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