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LIVE BIZ FACES "CATASTROPHIC" CRISIS IN THE U.K.

The U.K. live music industry could suffer £900m ($1.1b) in losses—81% of its annual contribution to the economy—and lose thousands of jobs as a result of the coronavirus crisis, without urgent Government action. 

The warning comes from the UK Live Music Group, a collective of promoters, festivals, agents, venues and production services, which is part of umbrella trade body UK Music

Research done by group predicts that the industry risks losing the majority of its £1.1b ($1.36b) annual contribution to the U.K. economy in Gross Value Added (GVA), and many of its 30,000 workers. More than 550 grassroots music venues (82% of the total) are said to be at immediate risk of closure, and recovery for the sector could take up to three or four years. In addition, a survey by the Association of Independent Festivals found that 92% of its members face collapse.

In July, the British Government is expected to wind down its furlough scheme, which covers a percentage of employed workers' wages, as the country eases lockdown measures. Similar support for the self-employed could end around the same time. However, with three-quarters of the live music industry’s workforce furloughed, the UK Live Music Group has asked for extended Government support until live music returns.

“The live music industry has collapsed as a result of coronavirus and it will be one of the last sectors to emerge from this crisis,” UK Live Music Group chair Greg Parmley said. “Removing existing support—such as the furlough scheme and help for self-employed—before live music resumes will trigger thousands of redundancies, and without additional support, the sector may never recover.

 “Live music powers a huge eco-system of managers, artists, agents, technicians and suppliers, who have no income when there is no live music. The effects of this crisis are faced by the entire music industry—labels, publishers, composers and more don’t function without live performance.”

The Government is being asked to implement several key measures to help the industry, including ongoing support measures, tax breaks on ticket sales, and clear guidance about when venues can reopen while ensuring public health remains the top priority.

UK Music chair Tom Watson added: “As the world slowly emerges from the international lockdown, the U.K. cannot afford to leave behind its economy-boosting music industry. We’ll need more support from Government to survive and remain a long-term contributor to the economy.”

 

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