As we have seen over the past few months, the UK has made it quite clear that it shows little care for music and nightlife industries as the sector has been battered by COVID-19.
With venues required to shut their doors and events postponed or cancelled (for good reason, despite the government’s overall poor response to the pandemic in general) it has once again been confirmed with a controversial statement by the Health and Care minister on Sky News that the sector is quite frankly an afterthought.
Following the announcement of a new Winter Economy Plan, which will see the furlough scheme (initially provided to the sector in the beginning of the year, but set to end on October 1st) replaced with Job Support Scheme in November – as announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak – however, the music and events industry have responded with anger, explaining that this scheme is simply not enough to support those who have been severely affected – which is essentially everyone working in the industry. The term “viable jobs” is rather vague.
From 1 November, for the next six months, the Job Support Scheme will protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19. pic.twitter.com/8NpIKpQV8y— HM Treasury (@hmtreasury) September 24, 2020
In a recent survey by the Musicians’ Union, one (1) out of three (3) British musicians are considering quitting the industry entirely due to the severity of the financial hardships they have faced, with 88% believing the government has not done enough to support the arts or nightlife industries.
Furthering the notion that the music and nightlife industries are evidently not a priority, Health and Care Minister Helen Whateley appeared on Sky News on the morning of September 28th, with a controversial statement that has the global events sector fuming.
When asked by Sky News founder member Kay Burley about the possible consequences of the music and nightlife industries “falling through the cracks” Whateley stated:
The chancellor has adjusted and moved to the next phase. We know that COVID is going to be with us for months ahead, but it doesn’t make sense to continue supporting jobs where there simply isn’t work at the moment.
Health Minister @Helen_Whately: “It doesn’t make sense to continue supporting jobs where there simply isn’t work at the moment.”— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) September 28, 2020
“So you’re not going to support the nightlife industry? It’s done?” RC#KayBurley pic.twitter.com/CIjNZTNahp
Tomorrow (September 30th) the global events sector spanning over 25 countries are coming together for a Global Day of Action, as a part of the #WeMakeEvents campaign as a call to action considering the UK and the majority of countries across the world have pushed the arts, culture and nightlife sectors to the sidelines. Last month music crews in the UK marched to demand government intervention, warning that 100,000 jobs could be lost in the events industry if nothing is done.
Feature Image: Marco Bianchetti via Unsplash