Institute for Fiscal Studies report makes the case for supporting… Jump to main content

Institute for Fiscal Studies report makes the case for supporting 'excluded' musicians

Today, the Institute for Fiscal Studies published a briefing document, which examines the cost to Government of supporting 1.3million self-employed people who are currently excluded from existing financial support. The Institute’s findings suggest that the cost of such support, which includes a substantial number of musicians and creative freelancers, would be extremely low – just 1% of the total cost to date of the current SEISS and furlough support schemes. Their findings echo what the ISM has been saying for many months, and we urge the Government to take note of this important piece of research.

Responding to the report, ISM Chief Executive, Deborah Annetts said:

‘This report clearly demonstrates that it is financially viable to support excluded musicians, many of whom are having to turn their backs on their careers and talents to avoid extreme poverty. With over 40% of musicians not having received any financial support, and many more considering leaving the profession, it is imperative that the Government acts now to protect our world-leading arts sector.’


Alongside support for excluded workers, the ISM is calling on the UK Government to commit to preserving parity between the furlough scheme and the forthcoming fourth SEISS grant in advance of the budget announcement on Wednesday 3 March.

Key facts and figures

  • Music contributed £5.8 billion to the UK economy in 2019 and employment in the industry hit an all-time high of 197,168 in 2019. (UK Music)
  • Productivity in the arts and culture industry between 2009 and 2016 was greater than that of the economy as a whole, with gross value added per worker at £62,000 for arts and culture, compared to £46,800 for the wider UK economy. (Arts Council)
  • Jobs in the performing arts are significantly less likely to be lost due to automation (Nesta Report)
  • The arts, entertainment & recreation is the worst affected sector by coronavirus. (ONS)
  • 64% of UK musicians are thinking about leaving the sector and 41% hadn’t received any government support during the pandemic. (Encore)
  • 70% of people working in music, performing & visual arts are freelancers (DCMS).
  • 79% of musicians earn less than £30,000. (ISM)