Covid-19: Cultural and Entertainment Sectors

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:57 pm on 2nd March 2021.

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Photo of Florence Eshalomi Florence Eshalomi Labour/Co-operative, Vauxhall 4:57 pm, 2nd March 2021

Tomorrow’s Budget is eagerly anticipated by many of my constituents who work in the culture and entertainment sectors in Vauxhall. Those sectors rely hugely on high-density indoor venues to turn a profit, and as they will not be able to return to business as normal in time for summer, they have suffered and will continue to suffer one of the longest sector lockdowns of this pandemic. We must all fight to ensure their survival.

When we talk about saving the cultural and entertainment sectors, we may think of some of the amazing buildings where we have seen an exhibition or a play, the shows we watch on TV or the music that we have live-streamed, but behind these venues and productions are millions of freelancers—self-employed support workers, so many of whom have fallen through the gaps in Government support. Polling data from the Musicians’ Union, based in my constituency, which I recently met, shows that 38% of musicians have missed out on Government support and 34% are leaving the industry altogether. Tomorrow’s Budget must recognise that and provide a sector-specific support package to ensure that there are no more closures and no more redundancies as we reach the final hurdle in the fight against covid-19.