Music Venue Trust have shared a response to Chancellor Rishi Sunak's new Jobs Support Scheme that will replace the furlough scheme at the end of next month.
Earlier today (24 September), Chancellor Rishi Sunak laid out the government's plans to support businesses through the winter with a new Jobs Support Scheme.
The Jobs Support Scheme is set to replace the furlough scheme, and will run for six months after the furlough scheme ends on 31 October. The scheme will see the government subsidise payments for employees who are working at least a third of their normal working hours, with employers paying workers for the hours they do work.
As the BBC notes, the government's contributions to payments for employees under the new Jobs Support Scheme will fall to 22%, compared to the 80% of wages the government covered as part of the furlough scheme.
Sunak didn't specifically explain how the new Jobs Support Scheme will impact the live music industry, but Music Venue Trust have shared a response (via Music Week) calling on the government to address the challenges faced by the industry.
Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd said, "The new job support programme is built around the premise of returning to work, and employers returning to some level of income arising from that work to support those workers. The government has made it clear that it does not believe that the time is right for the live music industry to return to work, and where limited events, under substantial restrictions, are permitted, the income generated is insufficient to meet any of the government targets for employer contributions."
Davyd continues, "Bluntly, no part of the live music industry is in a position to pay 55% of its employees salaries in order to access the government support which is entirely conditional on doing that."
MVT's CEO also revealed that the scheme won't have an impact on saving grassroots music venues unless the Culture Recovery Fund is properly distributed, "The distribution of the Cultural Recovery Fund will need to demonstrate that the government has created a specific sector financial support package for a specific sector which its own virus management policy dictates is unable to trade. If the fund is distributed in such a way that it enables the live music industry to access the financial support being offered across the business sector, such as the employees protection programme, then today's measures contribute to the music industry's recovery. HM Government clearly believes, and expressed during today's DCMS questions in Parliament, that it will. If it does not, none of today's measures are accessible to the live music industry and none will have any impact."
Davyd adds, "The live music industry faces a crisis which is not of its own making. It is vital that it survives this crisis. The challenge is manageable with sensible, targeted interventions by the government. Music Venue Trust awaits the outcome of the Cultural Recovery Fund to assess if that is the action required."
The Culture Recovery Fund aims to distribute £500m worth of grants to venues in the UK, starting on 5 October.
Read Music Venue Trust's full response on musicweek.com. Last week, London Mayor Sadiq Khan pledged £450,000 to help London grassroots music venues survive COVID-19.