COVID-19: ISM calls for revised package for the self-employed

• In a letter to the Chancellor, the ISM calls for an urgent revision of the Self-employment Income Support Scheme

• While we are grateful to the Chancellor listening to concerns of the music sector, current measures are not clear and many are concerned about not receiving adequate financial help

Today (31 March 2020) the ISM has written a letter to the Chancellor calling for an urgent revision of the self-employed financial package to support freelance musicians with the loss of their earnings as a result of COVID-19.

The letter captures the concerns of ISM members and musicians from across the sector who have raised concerns about the package not meeting the needs of the workforce.

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians said:

‘While we are grateful the Government has listened to the music sector many musicians have raised concerns about how in particular the package announced for the self-employed will not provide them with adequate financial support.

Many musicians, including 93% of the ISM membership, undertake work which is both self-employed and employed. For example, many teach on an employed part-time basis often on zero hours contracts while also working as a performer in different settings from theatre to wedding bands. There is no typical type of musician and no two musicians will have identical portfolios of work.

We have written to the Chancellor today outlining the concerns raised and the steps that need to be taken to ensure no musicians fall through the cracks.’

The ISM is asking Government to:

• Lower the threshold of income from self-employment from 50% to 25% for the self-employment Income Support Scheme

• Remove the £50,000 cap on the self-employment Income Support Scheme as no equivalent cap is in place for the employed scheme

• Allow graduates, those who have been on sick leave or maternity leave, or those who have returned to work in the past three years to discount years that do not reflect their current position

• Clarify as to whether the taxable grant for the self-employed will count towards the threshold for Class 4 National Insurance contributions

• Extend the self-employment Income Support Scheme to those who have been self-employed for less than a year or provide equivalent meaningful support to these workers

• Clarify that those who work on zero-hour contracts and are on PAYE are covered by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

• Provide an alternative an alternative to Universal Credit in order to cover the income gap or make the Universal Credit application process more responsive

Read the letter to the Chancellor

About the ISM

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK's professional body for musicians and a nationally-recognised subject association for music. Since 1882, we have been dedicated to promoting the importance of music and protecting the rights of those working in the music profession. We support approximately 10,000 musicians across the UK and Ireland with our unrivalled legal advice and representation, comprehensive insurance and specialist services. Our members come from all areas of the music profession and from a wide variety of genres and musical backgrounds. We campaign tirelessly in support of musicians’ rights, music education and the profession as a whole. We are a financially independent not-for-profit organisation with no political affiliation. This independence allows us the freedom to campaign on any issue affecting musicians.

For more information, please contact [email protected]

Write to your MP