Rishi Sunak / “The Aunt Mimi of The Government”

Rishi Sunak, The Chancellor of the Exchequer, has been under fire over the last couple of days, as his recent message seemed to suggest that those in the creative industry should retrain and find other jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

The message from ITV News on Twitter which cause the storm, has since been removed and the news company have adjusted their article to reflect that Sunak was speaking about employment generally and not just about the creative sector (see below).

Kevin Brennan, the MP for Cardiff West and member of the Department of Media, Culture and Sport Select Committee, recently said that if he did not change his message, “he [Sunak] was in danger of becoming the ‘Aunt Mimi’ of the Government is he isn’t careful”, referring to John Lennon’s Aunt, who famously suggested the he got a proper job.

Mr Sunak had highlighted the Government’s £1.57bn Culture rescue package. That money is aimed at museums, galleries and venues, rather than individuals.

Also, in August, £3.36m of the fund was distributed to grassroots venues in England and Wales, to save them from immediate closure once again ignoring the needs of the individual.

However, a further announcement on how the emergency funding would be allocated, due on Monday 5 October, has been delayed by a week for “additional due diligence”.

The situation remains dire for freelance individuals in the Music Industry.

A recent impact poll from The Musicians Union found that:

    • 47% musicians have been forced to look for work outside them music industry
    • 70% are unable to undertake more than a quarter of their usual work
    • 36% musicians do not have any work at all

With the Government’s job retention schemes coming to an end:

  • 65% musicians are facing financial hardship
  • 87% musicians will be facing financial hardship as a result of the Government’s income support schemes ending in October
  • 87% musicians will be earning less than £20,000 this year – well below the UK average income of £29,600
  • As a result, 88% musicians do not think that the Government has done enough to support musicians during the pandemic.

They are urging people to write to their MP, as it is one of the best ways of making sure your voice is heard in decision-making. You can find out how to do this, using the details on The MU Website including their Musicians Union Template


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