UK trade association Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) is calling on the government to freeze the economy as the live events industry faces loss of business due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Titled ‘The Big Freeze’ NTIA said the move would “resolve a myriad of issues facing so many of our businesses and workers,” citing confusion surrounding the current support measures put in place.
The move would mean suspending all payments in this next period to alleviate people’s personal financial burdens.
While NTIA said it welcomes the news of the government’s recent employee rescue packages, the trade association for the night time industry in the UK, which includes independent bars, nightclub and restaurant owners, pubs, and festival and live music event operators, continues to be “inundated with questions about how and when this will come to fruition.”
It also points to the lack of support offered for self-employed workers who, without the current bill being passed through the House of Commons, will “face a period of hardship through no fault of their own – and not commensurate with their pay rolled fellow citizens.”
Michael Kill, chief executive of NTIA, cited the new lockdown rules in the UK as he said: “Prime Minister, you have taken very significant and entirely unprecedented measures as you have said [on Monday] with this new declaration. We are now further limited as citizens. By freezing the economy now, you will be ensuring that there is a temporary relieve for British workers and business.
“Freezing payments in this next period will allow people to focus on health and wellbeing rather than their personal financial burden. Now more than ever we all need a level of calm to manage this next period pragmatically and for the greater good of all. We await your response.”
NTIA also said in the statement: “Our industry has been subject to a period of prolonged frustration, as we have been drip fed the government’s economic provisions for rescuing businesses within the Night Time & Events Sector leaving millions in a state of confusion and many extremely concerned about extended indebtedness and ruin.
“It is clear from many of the provisions which have been assessed, that the headlines are bigger than the reality, with many businesses still not clear on support or falling outside of the eligibility parameters.”
The announcement follows UK Music’s calls for more help for self-employed workers who make up around 72 per cent of the music industry.
On Friday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged to pay workers at 80 per cent of each employee’s salary, but is now facing political pressure to help the millions of self-employed workers who will not benefit. The news came just three days after Sunak confirmed £330bn of loan guarantees and a £20bn fiscal intervention including further business rate relief for companies.
In response, UK Music said self-employed workers should be offered the same help as other workers who will get up to £2,500 a month if they are furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition, the Creative Industries Federation has sent an open letter signed by over 30 trade bodies, including the Association Of Independent Music, the Featured Artists Coalition, the Incorporated Society Of Musicians, the Music Education Council, the Musicians’ Union and UK Music.
The letter urges the Chancellor to “stand by our highly valuable self-employed workforce, and urgently consider our proposal to help make this a reality”.
Creative Industries Federation tweeted earlier today (Tuesday): “We’ve been working with MPs and Lords to bring forward an amendment to the Coronavirus Bill for self-employed income protection and are pleased that this amendment has now been put forward by the Liberal Democrats.”