The coronavirus pandemic could deal a “hammer blow” to the UK music industry, the body which represents its commercial interests has warned.
UK Music’s acting chief executive Tom Kiehl called on the Government to take “urgent steps to safeguard a music industry which is the envy of the world”.
In a letter to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, Mr Kiehl outlined a seven-point plan to limit the outbreak’s impact.
He urged the Government to hold insurance companies to account, extend business rates relief, and help those in the industry who are self-employed.
Mr Kiehl also called for “VAT holidays” for music businesses and compensation in the event of cancellations.
He said: “The impact of the virus could deal a hammer blow to the British music industry and threaten the livelihoods of many people.
“It will hit not just those who are directly employed in our industry, but the wider supply chain such as caterers and other retailers who depend on our sector for work.
“While we warmly welcome measures outlined by the Chancellor in the Budget it is imperative that the Government takes urgent steps to safeguard a music industry which is the envy of the world.
“It is also crucial that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and all Government departments are in constant communication with our sector as we approach a critical business period for many of our members.”
Ahead of the busy summer season, Mr Kiehl also urged the Government to look at what support it could offer festivals and other live music events.
Coachella and Stagecoach festivals in the US have been postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, while acts including The Who, Madonna and Miley Cyrus have cancelled live dates.
Record Store Day, an annual global event involving thousands of people and small businesses, was also postponed due to coronavirus concerns.
Labour deputy leadership candidate Dr Rosena Allin-Khan also called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to protect music industry workers from the effects of the virus.
In a joint letter with the Musicians’ Union, she urged Mr Sunak to introduce measures including compensation for musicians when they self-isolate and therefore lose work.
She said: “Whilst the measures announced in the Budget could make a difference, I’m concerned they do not go far enough when it comes to protecting workers in highly insecure sectors, such as the music industry.
“People should not have to choose between self-isolating or paying their bills – it is inhumane. This is obviously a very worrying time for the whole country, as well as the whole world, and now more than ever we need to pull together.”