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Thousands of musicians affected by Covid-19 outbreak, according to union

Musicians can access hardship payments until Government support becomes available (Alistair Wilson/PA)
Musicians can access hardship payments until Government support becomes available (Alistair Wilson/PA)

Thousands of musicians have been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak through the cancellation of performances and the loss of teaching, theatre, session and orchestral work, the Musicians’ Union has said.

More than 5,000 musicians have been affected by the cancellation of concerts and live performances, according to a survey of the union’s members.

Additionally, more than 16,000 musicians have been affected through a loss of work in teaching, theatres and orchestras, as well as cancelled session work.

Musicians’ Union general secretary Horace Trubridge said that the Government announcement on Thursday which gave support for self-employed and freelance workers is “extremely welcome”.

He added: “We understand that implementing this system will be complex, but we now urge the Government to work to get it in place as quickly as possible.”

He also called for some immediate support to be provided to musicians.

Mr Trubridge said: “Although the announcement contains good news for many of our members – we will be urgently moving to ask further questions about how exactly this is going to work, and to make sure that musicians don’t fall through the cracks.

“We all need music more than ever in these difficult times.”

Coronavirus
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced emergency support measures for the self-employed on Thursday (PA)

The union has set up a hardship fund for its members, who can apply for £200 to tide them over until Government support becomes available.

On Thursday Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that £9 billion of Government funds would be made available to support millions of self-employed workers.

Grants worth up to £2,500 will be made available to support them. However, the emergency funds may not be available until June and it will only be available to those who submitted a tax return last year, meaning the newly self-employed will be ineligible.

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