Joint research by the Musicians’ Union and The Ivors Academy has revealed that 70% of musicians, songwriters and composers who are shielding do not feel they can return to work until they are vaccinated. Worryingly, almost all respondents (95%) do not believe the Government has a clear plan on how to get them back to work safely.
The research goes on to detail how almost half of musicians and music creators have not received any financial support whilst shielding and over half are facing financial hardship because they are shielding.
With 52% of shielding musicians, songwriters and composers facing financial hardship, the Musicians’ Union and The Ivors Academy are calling on the UK Government to extend the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme until they can safely return to work and plug the existing gaps so no musicians are left behind.
Further policy recommendations to Government include:
• Specific and targeted support for those still required to shield when other musicians, songwriters and composers are able to return to work
• Extend the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) beyond April 2021 and increase the next round so that it provides the same level of support as furlough
• Commit to make the £20 uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits permanent
• Expand eligibility to statutory sick pay by removing the £120 per week earnings requirement
• Lay out a clear plan on how and when the music industry can reopen with specific guidance on getting shielding musicians back to work safely
The joint research also highlighted that 82% of shielding musicians and music creators reported they did not believe that the music industry has a clear plan on how to get them back to work safely and over half (57%) think they will be discriminated against because they are shielding.
Recommendations for the music industry when it re-opens include:
• Keep flexible and online working options available so shielding musicians and music creators can still be considered for work, adapting and changing working conditions and practices to meet individuals’ needs
• Work with individual musicians and music creators to create plans to get them back to work safely, making reasonable adjustments where requested.
Naomi Pohl, Deputy General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union, said:
“Musicians who are shielding are dealing with growing financial and emotional pressure whilst managing health conditions and caring responsibilities. With no guarantee of when they will be able to return to work safely it is essential that these groups of workers are not pushed further into hardship and out of the music industry.
Throughout the pandemic people who are shielding have felt forgotten, unsupported, and confused by Government advice on how to return to work safely. We cannot allow a situation where musicians who are shielding must choose between falling into poverty or putting their lives or their family’s lives at risk by returning to workplaces when it is unsafe to do so. The Government must act now to reassure shielding musicians that they will be supported until they can safely return to work.”
Graham Davies, CEO of The Ivors Academy, said:
“As we move through the later stages of this pandemic, and the industry begins to re-open, we must reflect on how we, as an industry, ensure that musicians and music creators who are shielding are not left behind or discriminated against. Music creators that are shielding must be supported to get back to work. This is an important opportunity to work together to make the industry more accessible for all musicians and music creators”.
The Musicians’ Union and The Ivors Academy are encouraging musicians and music creators to share their stories on social media to convince the Government to #InvestInMusicians.