To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) a Seat Out to Help Out scheme to support live entertainment and (b) providing individual funding for musicians and other freelancers in England via the Cultural Recovery Fund on a similar basis to the support available in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ announced by the Prime Minister on the 22 February provides a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England, including for live events. Once theatres and live entertainment venues are able to reopen, we want the public to show their support by attending events, and we will continue to review all viable options to ensure the successful reopening of the live entertainment sector.
DCMS continues to engage with HM Treasury to ensure the needs of our sectors are factored into the developing economic response, and that DCMS sectors, including the music sector, are supported throughout this time. The Government recognises the significant challenge the current pandemic poses to many individuals and freelancers working in the music industry, and we are working very hard to help freelancers in this sectors access support, including through Arts Council England and the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) which will continue until September with a fourth and fifth grant. Individuals will be able to qualify for the new grants based on their 2019-20 tax returns. This means that over 600,000 self-employed individuals may be newly eligible for the SEISS, including many new to self-employment in 2019-20.