23.06.2020: UK Music Acting CEO Tom Kiehl welcomed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that lockdown restrictions in England would be eased, but he urged the Government to act swiftly to ensure the music industry was not treated like “a forgotten relative”.
His comments followed the PM’s announcement in the House of Commons today (Tuesday) that restaurants, pubs, hotels and hairdressers will be allowed to reopen in England from July 4 and that the 2m distancing rule would be reduced to 1m plus.
Mr Johnson said the Government’s aim was that businesses and activities including theatres, nightclubs, orchestras and choirs should be able to restart “as soon as possible” – provided they were Covid-safe.
However, the Prime Minister failed to give any signal regarding a potential date or timetable that would allow the UK music industry – which generates £5.2 billion a year for the UK economy and sustains 190,000 jobs – to get back on its feet.
In response to the Prime Minister’s statement, Mr Kiehl said:
“While it’s welcome news that social guidelines are being eased for other sectors, many parts of the music industry are still urgently awaiting clarity from the Government.
“Thousands of people who work in the music industry, which generates £5.2 billion a year for the UK economy, are struggling to survive and many businesses will go to the wall unless we get the vital support needed to get the music business back on its feet.
“There is a real risk that music will be left swinging in the wind unless the Government moves quickly to agree a detailed plan with the sector to reopen.
“We cannot afford for music which is so culturally, socially and economically important to be treated like some kind of forgotten relative while so many other sectors are being given a blueprint for them to emerge from lockdown.
“With much of the financial support from the Government tapering to an end over the next few weeks, the music industry urgently needs to know what financial help will be available to support businesses survive while they remain closed.
“Live music needs VAT relief on future ticket sales which would amount to a lifeline worth up to £300 million to the sector over a 12-month period.
“July 4 is now in people’s calendars as the day when many other businesses will re-open. The music industry needs a clear timetable and a target date for when all elements of the sector can join the legions of businesses now planning for the future and looking forward to getting back to trading.
“If the UK Government does not provide swift and well-targeted support to the music sector, we will see venues close for good, thousands of job losses, as well as the loss of irreplaceable musical talent and technical skills – even if the industry is able to return to economic viability.
“The absence of live music has left a huge hole in the lives of millions of music lovers and temporarily deprived tens of thousands of people of the livelihoods. We need to move towards a place where we can once again let the music play.”
Read MoreBack to news