Support for 2021 UK music festivals to be discussed by MPs in new inquiry

Support for UK music festivals is set to be discussed by MPs in a new inquiry.

After the Digital and Culture Minister, Caroline Dinenage, announced last month that the government was “doing everything we can” to support the UK’s live music industry, a new inquiry has been launched to examine what support is needed for festivals to return safely in 2021.

“With the vast majority of festivals cancelled in 2020 owing to COVID-19, the sector’s revenues have dropped by 90%,” the Inquiry statement reads. “The predominantly freelance workforce and other parts of the festival supply chain have been similarly affected. However, social distancing requirements and public health uncertainty present further risks for festival organisers. MPs will consider how to secure festivals in the face of these immediate pressures and other long-term challenges.”

You can read more about the inquiry here.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak recently introduced a new Job Support Scheme for businesses in furlough’s place, which will top up the wages of employees working at least a third of their normal hours. The move has been heavily criticised by those in the nightlife industry, with Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd stating that the move did not address the specific challenges faced by the live music industry.

While the UK’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) would be extended to April 2021, there would be significant reductions to the grants extended to self-employed people, who make up the majority of the nightlife industry. Self-employed workers will be able to apply for support in the form of two taxable grants, covering the periods of November – January and February – April respectively. The first grant will cover 20% of self-employed workers’ average monthly earnings, capped at £1850.  

Speaking about the support, Dineage said: “We know the importance of protecting jobs and livelihoods in the creative arts sector. Through the furlough scheme we have protected 303,000 jobs, with claims totalling £1.47 billion. The self-employed income support scheme was taken up by 64% of eligible arts and entertainment workers, with grants totalling £153 million.”

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