I recognise the valuable economic and cultural contribution that businesses and individuals in the dance music industry make to the UK, and I share the concerns about the impact the coronavirus crisis has had on this industry.
As you will be aware, premises such as nightclubs cannot currently reopen in the UK due to social distancing regulations. It is therefore vital that businesses which must remain closed for longer can access further financial support.
I believe the UK Government must end its ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), and adopt a flexible, sector-by-sector approach instead. Industries that can open today should not be treated the same as industries that cannot.
I firmly believe the employer contribution to the CJRS, which is required from August, should be introduced at a slower rate for sectors that have been impacted the most.
Additionally, I am concerned that too many people, including DJs, have been excluded from the SEISS, including the newly self-employed, and those who earn less than half of their income from self-employment. It is vital that these schemes are effective to ensure that incomes, jobs and businesses are protected.
Also, whilst I welcome the £1.57 billion funding for the arts and culture industries, I am concerned that many organisations still do not know if they are eligible, even though this funding needs to be distributed urgently.
The Opposition is raising all of these issues with the Government, and I hope the Government will amend its schemes so that they are as helpful, effective and efficient as they need to be. For example, on 22 July 2020, concerns were raised in the House of Commons about support for the nightclub industry. A Treasury Minister stated that this would be given consideration.
I have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, and the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, and asked them to meet leaders from this industry to help them to address this crisis. You can read copies of my letters below.
I can assure you that I will continue to follow this issue closely and support efforts to ensure the dance music industry and DJs are given the support they need to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.