Wednesday 21 October 2020 12:20 pm

Live music industry warns of 170,000 job losses by end of year

The UK’s live music industry has warned it will suffer 170,000 job losses before the end of the year if the government fails to offer further support.

LIVE, which represents the sector, said the country’s live music workforce was facing a “cliff edge” as the furlough scheme comes to an end at the end of the month.

Read more: Falling through the cracks: How Covid-19 has put London’s events sector on the brink

Bosses warned that many venues and events are unable to operate profitably under new lockdown restrictions, but are excluded from the government’s extended job support scheme as they have not been forced to close completely.

The report estimated that the live music sector, which last year contributed £4.5bn to the UK economy, will see its revenue drop more than 80 per cent this year, with many businesses pulling in zero revenue since March.

LIVE said more than three-quarters of the sector’s workers were using the furlough scheme at the end of August.

But it warned more than half of all permanent roles, or 26,100 jobs, will be lost if further support is not provided. This is in addition 144,000 temporary, self-employed and freelance jobs.

Phil Bowdery, chair of the Concert Promoters Association, said the sector was caught in a “catch-22”, as it was unable to operate but excluded from job support.

“We were one of the first sectors to close and we will be one of the last to reopen,” he said. “If businesses can’t access that support soon then the majority of our specialist, highly trained workforce will be gone.”

The report highlighted the positive impact of the government’s £257m survival fund for arts and culture organisations, which it said had saved roughly 10,000 jobs.

But it warned this was offset by the looming end of the furlough scheme.

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Industry bosses have also raised concerns about the impact of the lockdown on the live events supply chain, which they say has been overlooked by government support measures.

Just five per cent of companies in the sector’s supply chain have received financial aid through the government’s £1.57bn cultural recovery fund, according to a survey by We Make Events.