UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin is urging Boris Johnson to include the live music industry in his COVID-19 recovery roadmap to save thousands of jobs at risk of being lost forever.
Njoku-Goodwin's latest call comes ahead of Boris Johnson's expected announcement next week on how the government plans to ease lockdown restrictions and reopen the economy over the coming weeks.
Ahead of the Prime Minister's expected announcement, Njoku-Goodwin has asked for Boris Johnson to provide "urgent clarity" to the live music industry on how it can safely reopen. The UK Music Chief said, "We are fast reaching a critical point for the live music industry. If festivals and large events are forced to cancel for another year, many will go under and thousands of jobs are at risk of being lost forever."
"We are not asking to reopen a moment before it is safe to do so, but if our sector is to survive through this pandemic then we require urgent clarity about the months ahead and some indication of when live music will be able to return," Njoku-Goodwin continued.
The UK Music Chief added that despite working with the government to develop "safe working practices" and "looking at all possible options to make festivals and venues as safe as possible", the live music industry needs "laser-like focus from the government on how we can work together to get live music back as swiftly and safely as possible."
He continued, "A restart date for live music would be hugely welcome. The long lead time involved in planning festivals and other events makes this crucial. At the very least, we need clarity about the conditions under which we would be allowed to get live events under way again."
Earlier this week it was revealed that every UK adult could receive both vaccination jabs by August this year. Njoku-Goodwin added of the vaccination rollout, "The vaccination rollout has been a huge success and case rates are going in the right direction – but without certainty about when live music will be allowed to operate again, many businesses and organisations in our sector and the wider supply chain will struggle to survive."
The UK Music Chief's comments arrive hot on the heels of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Night Time Economy's report titled Covid-19 and UK Nightlife. The cross-party group is made up of more than 40 MPs, and the report warns that the nightlife sector is at risk of "extinction" unless the government takes urgent action.
The survey found that up to 85% of people working in the night time economy are considering leaving the industry, and only 36% of self-employed nightlife workers have been able to claim the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
The MPs are urging the Prime Minister and Chancellor to bring present a "sector-specific grant package" and a detailed roadmap for reopening the nightlife sector to avoid "irreversible losses" that would hinder the wider economic recovery.
Jeff Smith MP, Chair of the APPG said, "Our world-leading night clubs, pubs, bars, and live music venues are cornerstones of our communities. They drive so much economic activity both locally and nationally, and bring hope, joy and entertainment to millions across the UK. Our findings today reveal this industry is on its knees, in desperate need of additional support from the government and a concrete plan for reopening. Without these interventions, many of these viable businesses will go under, leaving city and town centres resembling ghost towns. If the government is serious about its ‘levelling up’ agenda it must act now to save this sector and avoid untold damage to the social fabric of this country."