Kneecap claim UK government is silencing them by blocking funding

The Irish punk-rap band revealed that they have had funding blocked by the British government, an act they claim is tantamount to “silencing”.

Belfast punk-rap group Kneecap have taken to X to accuse the UK government of trying to silence them by blocking funding from a British Phonographic Industry (BPI) funding award.

The statement posted to the social media platform reads: “Once again the British government is trying to silence voices from West Belfast – once again it will fail!”

Kneecap, made up of Mo Chara, Móglaí Bap and DJ Próvaí, go on to explain that their application for funding from the Music Export Growth Scheme had been “independently approved and signed off” by a selection board, but they were later told that the British government had directly blocked the funding. The reasoning for the decision was reportedly the band’s 2019 tour poster, pictured below.

The BPI, an influential UK music music industry body which co-owns the Official Charts and organises award ceremonies such as the BRITs and Mercury Prize, has expressed “disappointment” in the decision.

Kemi Badenoch, a spokesperson for the UK Business and Trade Secretary, said: “We fully support freedom of speech, but it’s hardly surprising that we don’t want to hand out UK taxpayers’ money to people that oppose the United Kingdom itself.”

The Irish-language rappers, currently garnering praise as the stars of their own biopic, Kneecap, described the funding as “significant”, and had sought support to front costs related to touring and stage production for their sold out North American tour.