COVID-19: ISM writes to the Chancellor urging further amendments to financial measures

Today (7 April) the ISM has written a further letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer seeking clarification and further amendments to the financial measures the Government has set out to support workers in the UK.

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

‘We are grateful to the Government for its efforts to meet the needs of musicians during this difficult time and are deeply appreciative of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”) and the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (“SEISS”).

Following the Chancellor’s announcements, the ISM has received hundreds of emails from members and the wider music sector with their concerns, which we have set out in several letters to the Chancellor. We are working tirelessly to ensure that no musicians fall through the cracks of any of the schemes that have been announced.’

The letter calls for a review of the furloughing of employed staff, who at present are unable to provide services or generate revenue for the organisation or business they are furloughed from. This is putting strain on organisations in the music and wider arts sector who have had to furlough their staff and are now struggling to function without a sufficient workforce. Other countries, such as Canada (Emergency Wage Subsidy) and Australia (Job Keeper Payment), have put schemes in place which allow furloughed employees to continue working – even if it is just on a volunteer basis – so businesses can survive during and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

The letter also calls for the Government to remind employers that casual hourly paid employees fall within the CJRS and there is no reason for them not to be furloughed if the criteria are met. The ISM has heard from members who are employed on a casual hourly paid basis not being furloughed, despite being employed under PAYE and their employer ceasing to operate normally because of COVID-19.

In addition to the furloughing of staff, the ISM has called for urgent clarification as to how the Government will support musicians and businesses who operate under a Limited Company and take dividends as a source of income. These Directors currently fall outside any of the financial measures announced by the Government.

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]