Responding to Oliver Dowden’s announcement that socially distanced live indoor performances can take place from this weekend, the Incorporated Society of Musicians’ Chief Executive, Deborah Annetts, said:

‘It is welcome news that after much delay socially distanced indoor live performances can now take place as part of the government’s five-stage roadmap for reopening.

‘Despite being highly skilled, the majority of musicians are not highly paid, and their income is overwhelmingly dependent on performing. The fact still remains that until live music venues can fully reopen without social distancing, musicians will not be able to fully return to work, and their income will be far less than before COVID-19, which is not sustainable.  

‘We remain concerned that those eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will only be covered by the scheme until August. Musicians face the prospect of no further financial support as they transition back to work.

‘The government must extend the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme until at least the end of the year, and widen the eligibility criteria for freelancers to access vital support during this difficult time. The music industry, which is one of the last sectors of the economy to reopen, provides so much cultural and economic value to our country, and without additional financial support for freelancers, we risk many of our most talented musicians leaving the industry.’