MPs to debate perilous state of UK music scene hammered by pandemic

Nickie Aiken
Nickie Aiken - (Copyright PA Media)
0:44am, Tue 06 Oct 2020
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MPs will highlight the plight of the UK’s coronavirus-ravaged music industry during a debate in Parliament.

Conservative MP Nickie Aiken, whose Cities of London and Westminster constituency includes a host of music venues, has secured the debate on Tuesday.

It comes as the industry steps up its calls for the Government to help the crippled sector. Industry body UK Music says the pandemic has wiped out at least £900 million of the £1.1 billion live music was expected to contribute to the economy in 2020.

Coronavirus - (Copyright PA Archive)

MPs are expected to use the debate to outline the perilous state of the music industry as well as the threat of closure hanging over venues.

Ms Aiken said: “As neighbourhoods and local economies look to recover from the pandemic it is vital to consider the impact that theatres, music venues and other cultural attractions have on their communities, both in terms of supporting finances and other business by providing jobs and footfall, but also more widely in terms of community benefit and well-being.”

Pre-Covid, the UK music industry contributed £5.2 billion a year to the economy, sustained 190,000 jobs and generated exports of £2.7 billion a year, according to figures compiled by UK Music.

The shutdown has been devastating for the industry, including for the 72% in the sector who are self-employed – many of whom are not eligible for financial support according to UK Music.

The body is calling for more assistance. Many music events cannot break even due to Government restrictions on social distancing.

Among the measures UK Music is calling for are an extension of VAT and business rate reliefs, an extension to protection from eviction and for rent breaks for music spaces to be considered.

It is also urging ministers to support a Covid-19 insurance vehicle to give live performances cover against cancellation forced by the virus.

The Westminster Hall debate, titled The Contribution of Theatres, Live Music Venues and Other Cultural Attractions to the Local Economy, is scheduled to take place between 2.30pm and 4pm on Tuesday.

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