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UK Music Industry Bodies React To COVID-19 Roadmap
Christian Eede , February 23rd, 2021 18:11

"The budget next week must clearly lay out exactly how the government is going to provide sector-specific support," says the Music Venue Trust

A number of key UK music industry organisations have shared their reaction yesterday's (February 22) announcement by the UK Government of a roadmap out of the current COVID-19 lockdown.

The organisations that have shared their thoughts are united in calling for greater financial support for the events and hospitality industry, as venues look to safely reopen again following the announcement that nightclubs and music venues may be able to fully reopen from June 21.

"It is good to hear the government provide conditions under which initially socially distanced events, and then fuller capacity events, can take place," the Music Venue Trust's Mark Davyd said. "Based on this information, it is now possible to imagine how we Revive Live in grassroots music venues and develop that work into the full return of our domestic music scene. We note that this road map once again singles out live performance events as a specific risk which require that the sector is treated in a special way."

Davyd said that the Music Venue Trust has continually called on the Government to do more to offer sector-specific financial support "to mitigate the damage being done to businesses and people's lives, careers and families right across the live music industry." Following this latest announcement, he said, Chancellor Rishi Sunak's "budget next week must clearly lay out exactly how the Government is going to provide that sector-specific support."

UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin echoed the call for financial support, saying: "Our world-leading live music scene – ranging from stadium and concert-hall filling acts to emerging solo performers in the local pub – will help lift people's spirits and deliver a huge cultural and economic boost as we emerge from this pandemic. However, it is vital that our industry gets the continued economic support it needs to keep us going through to the point we can restart."

Njoku-Goodwin said that "the prospect of there being no legal impediments to live music events means issues like insurance are now even more pressing" as "one of the final barriers to getting events going this summer," adding that "while the astounding success of the vaccine rollout means the end of the health emergency is in sight, the economic toll of this pandemic will be with us for a long time to come."

UK Music, he said, will continue to work with the Government on pilot schemes for events "to ensure a safe, consistent and successful approach to getting live music back in our communities as soon as possible."

Responding shortly after the announcement yesterday, meanwhile, Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), said the organisation is "pleased to hear within the Prime Minister's statement the inclusion of a timeline for night-time economy businesses," which have been some of the "hardest hit" by restrictions.

"Despite this," he said, "our evidence suggests that 85% of those who work in the night time economy are considering leaving the sector. The sector urgently needs additional clarity on reopening and critical financial support from the Chancellor if we are to avoid economic and social damage that will last a generation."