New petition calls for UK government to extend furlough scheme for live music industry

Dekmantel Festival, 2019 © Bart-Heemskerk

A new petition is asking the UK Government to help the live music and theatre industries.

Hosted on the UK Government and Parliament site, the petition is calling for the furlough scheme to be extended. You can sign the petition here.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which allowed workers to be paid 80% of their wages up to £2500, is due to end on 31 October. From 1 September, the terms of the scheme changed to demand that employers contribute to wages.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously stated that an extension will leave people “in suspended animation”. In July, Sunak announced the Job Retention Bonus, where employers will be rewarded £1000 for each furloughed worker retained until the end of January 2021. The Treasury Select Committee has warned that without support there will be mass long-term unemployment.

In July, the UK government announced a £2.25 million support package for grassroots music venues. Venues are eligible to receive support until 30 September. The announcement came after marches were held in protest across the UK. The #LetUsDance campaign called for the government to include clubs in a £1.57 billion pandemic relief package. Cultural venues across the country turned their lights red as a display of solidarity with the events industry.

Live music venues were allowed to reopen in England from 15 August, as long as they adhere to social distancing rules. Many are yet to resume programming.