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U.K. MUSICIANS DOWN £13.9M

U.K. musicians have lost an estimated £13.9m ($16.15m) in earnings due to the coronavirus pandemic and trade orgs are demanding help from the Government for the self-employed. 

A report from The Musicians’ Union in the U.K. revealed that 90% of musicians have already been affected, with job opportunities down 69% vs. the same time last year. According to the findings, the highest loss of earnings is due to canceled gigs and live performances. Teaching and orchestral work are also experiencing a significant downturn due to social distancing measures, closures and pupil isolation. As a result, the MU has launched a Coronavirus Hardship Fund to offer £200 grants to those who are facing financial difficulty.

“Musicians—whether they work in theater, teaching, orchestras, gig-playing—will feel the full financial force of this global disaster,” Horace Trubridge, General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union, said. “Already, we have seen job opportunities drop by more than two thirds, and sadly this will only accelerate. We urgently need the government to provide clarity on what wider support will be available and we call on the record industry to play its part, too.”

The U.K. Government has announced a number of measures to help people who are employed, including paying up to 80% of wages for staff who can’t currently work. Loans for businesses and deferred tax payments are the main offerings for those who are self-employed. 

UK Music Acting CEO Tom Kiehl said the Government’s proposals “fall far short of the lifeline needed by the self-employed in the music industry and creative sector. The Government should urgently look at setting up a Temporary Income Protection Fund for self-employed workers and freelancers. The self-employed make up around 72% of the music industry and are a vital part of its success. They should be offered the same help as other workers.”

Association of Independent Music CEO Paul Pacifico urged chancellor Rishi Sunak to not “wash his hands” of the self-employed. He said: "The U.K. economy benefits substantially from over 5 million self-employed and freelance workers. Many have lost all sources of income completely through this crisis, have been effectively overlooked and are now facing economic strife as a result. 

"We are calling on the government to extend the same support.”

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