UK Music Acting Chief Executive Tom Kiehl has called on the Government to honour its pledge to ensure the self-employed get the same Government financial help as employees.
His intervention comes amid mounting fears that Chancellor Rishi Sunak plans to wind down the support scheme for the self-employed, while continuing to give assistance to employees under the furlough scheme until October. The help for the self-employed is due to end on Sunday.
Under schemes created in March, around 2.3 million self-employed workers and more than eight million employees are getting help under the Government’s income grant scheme.
The Chancellor recently extended the furlough scheme for employees. However, nothing has yet been announced for freelancers and the self-employed under the self-employed income support scheme (SEISS) — despite a Government pledge of “parity” of support for the two sectors to help them through the Covid-19 crisis.
UK Music Acting CEO Tom Kiehl warned the Government must not leave the 72% of self-employed workers in the music industry “swinging in the wind” as they faced the prospect of a “cliff-edge” end to their financial support.
Mr Kiehl said: “While the recent extension of Government support for employees is welcome, we have yet to hear what is planned for the self-employed.
“The community of self-employed workers in the music industry are a critical part of our sector’s eco-system and play a huge part in the £5.2 billion annual contribution music makes to the economy.
“The Government must not leave the self-employed swinging in the wind when it comes to financial support.
“The Chancellor needs to act to lift the cloud of anxiety and uncertainty facing thousands of self-employed workers that make up 72% of the music industry’s workforce.
“By Rishi Sunak’s own admission the scheme is designed to provide a lifeline to musicians but many will still not be able to work for many months to come.
“I would urge the Government to give self-employed workers the parity they were promised when it comes to financial support from the Government to help them make ends meet.”
Under the self-employed support scheme, workers who qualify get 80% of their average earnings over recent years - up to a cap of £2,500 per month.