Musicians: Coronavirus

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 26th October 2020.

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Photo of Jon Trickett Jon Trickett Labour, Hemsworth

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of financial support available to freelance musicians during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State

We recognise the crucial role that freelance individuals play in making our arts and creative industries world-leading.

We recognise the crucial role that individuals play in making our arts and creative industries world-leading. As a result of these grants and loans, organisations will be more able to resume cultural activity, albeit in a socially distanced way, which will increase employment opportunities for freelancers. Each organisation that receives money will know what best they can do to support their workforce, including their freelance workforce.

And the culture recovery fund will benefit freelancers, because it will invest in organisations and help them to reopen, and restart performances. It will help many put on cultural activity within this Financial Year which wouldn’t have been possible without this funding.

The government has taken active steps to support the self-employed. Over three quarters of eligible people in the cultural sectors have benefitted from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

The Arts Council England has made £119 million available to individuals, with £23.1 million already distributed and £95.9 million currently available to apply for via open funds. This includes:

  • £17.1 million distributed through the Emergency Response Fund for individuals;

  • £6 million distributed by a series of Benevolent Funds focused on the self employed.

  • £18 million available through their Developing Your Creative Practice fund;

  • £77.9 million available through National Lottery Project Grants (available to both individuals and organisations).

And the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund will benefit freelancers, because it will invest in organisations and help them to reopen, and restart performances. It will help many put on cultural activity within this Financial Year which wouldn’t have been possible without this funding.

The 1,385 successful arts recipients that were announced on Monday 12 October set out in their applications that this support would enable them to deliver over £150million of cultural activity before the end of March 2021. As organisations prepare for this activity, they will likely increase their employment of cultural freelancers.

We continue to engage with the sector to discuss the on-going challenges facing the industry.

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