13 October 2020, 16:46 | Up to date: 14 October 2020, 17:29
Violinists Nicola Benedetti and Tasmin Little, and the LSO, have penned a letter to Rishi Sunak, urging the chancellor to throw a lifeline to freelance musicians amid the pandemic.
Nicola Benedetti and Tasmin Little, two of Britain’s main violinists, have signed an open letter to the chancellor Rishi Sunak, urging the federal government to up its help for freelance artists, who’ve been deeply affected by the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.
Signed by 1,200 musicians and trade organisations, together with the London Symphony Orchestra, the letter voices its help for a brand new marketing campaign by the Musicians’ Motion (MM) and Included Society of Musicians (ISM), #MakeMusicWork.
It welcomes the recent funding for arts organisations, however urges the federal government to supply a “assured minimal price” for freelancers, as live performance halls navigate the realities of social distancing and diminished ticket gross sales.
The signatories additionally ask for improved monetary help for the swathes of musicians who’ve been unable to work since March, with venues closed resulting from COVID-19 security restrictions.
“It’s important for this authorities to supply a viable route again to work, permitting musicians to each help their households and begin contributing as soon as once more to our communities and nationwide life,” a statement from the ISM says.
With their marketing campaign, the MM and ISM hope to induce the federal government to “defend the tens of 1000’s of jobs in danger within the UK’s cultural sector”, an trade which contributes £10.8 billion a yr to the UK financial system.
Through the pandemic, research present nearly half of musicians have been pressured to search for work exterior the music trade, whereas greater than a 3rd wouldn’t have any work in any respect.
The letter’s signatories say they need to “kickstart the stay music sector” whereas making certain freelancers receives a commission a good wage regardless of social distancing and diminished ticket gross sales.
They urge the chancellor to additionally make modifications to the Self-Employment Earnings Assist Scheme (SEISS), by means of which they are saying, “many musicians have already fallen by means of the gaps”. Presently, freelancers can declare a most of 20 p.c of their common month-to-month wage. 45 p.c of musicians are at present not coated by the scheme in any respect.
Most musicians additionally received’t be coated by the wage top-up scheme talked about within the chancellor’s Winter Economic system Plan, for which solely workers working a 3rd of their regular hours are eligible – which means, industries nonetheless in shutdown or unable to make use of staff over the approaching months received’t obtain any help.
“Our tradition is the lifeblood of our nations and has a vital function to play in uniting our nation,” the ISM’s assertion continues. “Our work, and the work of our members and supporters has at all times been viable and can proceed to be so for hundreds of years to come back.
“With out additional help for our sector the UK could have misplaced a lot of the priceless cultural heritage that was constructed up over generations and changed with a cultural wasteland with no trade to return to.”
The ISM’s feedback echo latest frustrations expressed by musicians, that their jobs had been not considered “viable” within the COVID-19 financial system.
Tensions have since been constructing, following an interview wherein the chancellor appeared to recommend musicians get one other job, adopted by a extensively criticised government-backed campaign which advised ballet dancers “retrain in cyber”.
Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, founding father of the Chineke! Foundation and Basic FM presenter, who has additionally added her title to the letter, stated: “Freelance musicians have borne the brunt of the shutdown of the leisure trade over the previous seven months.
“We’re in peril of a complete technology of expertise being misplaced with out the means or dedication to a stable restoration for the cultural industries.”