news category All News created 13 March 2021
On 15th Feb, the Prime Minister announced a roadmap to reopening the economy, including the return of indoor and outdoor live events. While studios have been able to continue to operate for professional music production under the guidance developed by the MPG in collaboration with the government and trade bodies, we know that the current restrictions have impacted most of our members’ businesses and how they can operate.
There are no immediate changes to our guidance, but the changes to indoor leisure activities and indoor mixing may affect those working with amateur musicians.
We will continue to keep in close contact with DCMS and update you with any changes as soon as we can. in the meantime, please do pass on any questions you may have.
A summary of the road map and a link to the full guidance can be found here.
The MPG has been pushing the Government hard to include Recording Studios to guide the discretionary grants to councils. We know those recording studios have been able to stay open throughout the lockdowns; however, we have found that many of our members have been impacted by the restrictions.
On 26th Feb, Caroline Dinenage, a DCMS minister, replied to a written question from David Warburton MP regarding our issues. Caroline first acknowledged that she had seen the reports from our members, saying, “I have received reports that some businesses such as recording and rehearsal studios, which might not be ratepayers and which are not explicitly mentioned in the guidance on these grant schemes, are being deemed ineligible by some local authorities”.
However, she then went on to say that “the fund can, and in my opinion should be used to provide grants to businesses like recording and rehearsal studios”. This is a huge win for our members. If any members have applied for this funding and have been decided against, we suggest that you appeal to the decision, using this statement as evidence. Here is the link:
Please be aware that, although the minister has said that recording studios should be included, the final decision is down to the Local Authority.
Finally, we would like to thank David Warbuton for raising the question and Caroline Dinenage for expressing Government support on the issue.
On the 3rd Match, the Chancellor announced this year’s budget. We’ve read it, so you don’t have to.
The Job Retention Scheme (furlough) is now to be extended until September 2021. The current arrangements of 80% of wages (up to £2,500) will remain until June 2021. Like last year, as the scheme is phased out, the government’s level of support will reduce. July 21 grants will be up to 70% and 60% for August and September 2021. It should be noted that as grants reduce, employers must still pay their employees the full 80% of furlough.
The eligibility has also been updated. Anyone who wasn’t eligible because they missed the RTI deadline when furlough was first extended (30/10/20), from May 21, anyone who had filed RTI statement from 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021, will now be able to claim.
For more information: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-t…
The Chancellor announced there will be a fourth and fifth SEISS grant for the self-employed.
This will cover from Jan 21 to April 21 and can be claimed from late April.
For this grant, the Government is now considering the tax returns of 2019-20, therefore allowing those who became self-employed ‘at the wrong time’ to now be included – provided they have submitted their 2019-20 tax return by the 2nd March 2021. Just as the three previous grants, this will pay 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500.
This will be the final grant and will cover May 21 to September 21, with claims for this grant can begin from late July. The Government are attempting to target the support to those who need it most. Therefore they have changed the way the grant will be calculated. The amount each person receives will determine how much their turnover has reduced from April 2020 to April 2021 period.
Anyone who’s turnover has suffered a reduction of 30% or more during that period will be given the usual 80% grant, capped at £7,500. However, those with a turnover reduction of less than 30% will receive 30% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,850.
For information on the SEISS grants, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/self-employment-income-support-s…
One-off £6,000 cash grants will be awarded to businesses that the restrictions have impacted in an attempt to help them restart as the economy begins to reopen. We are actively seeking clarification to see if recording studios will be included in the guidance. The DCMS has already acknowledged that recording studios have been hit hard and therefore should be eligible for the discretionary grants. The MPG is pushing hard for studios to be included; as Government Minister Caroline Dinenage did say, “Supporting these businesses [recording studios] is vital to preserve the UK’s talent pipeline, even if they do not sell to consumers directly on a specific premise.”
Recovery Loan Scheme
The Chancellor also announced a new government-backed loan, called the Recovery Loan Scheme, which will run similar to CBILS. The scheme is due to open in April 21. Here are some key facts.
Loans ranging from £25,001 to £10million
No personal guarantee on loans under £250,000
The Government will guarantee 80% of each loan.
The scheme will run from 6 April and is open until 31 December.
Loans have 6-year terms.
For more information: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/recovery-loan-scheme
Business Rates Holiday
We continue to push for business rates holidays for studios, but we don’t think there will be any changes to the guidance on this in the immediate future.
We broadly welcome and support the measures announced in the budget. However, we recognise there are still some substantial cracks that many of our members will still fall through. So we are bordering on harassing the government to try and get them filled.
We’re keen to hear from members about any Brexit-related issues they’re experiencing – so we can feed them back to DCMS. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some government resources on post-Brexit trade. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-and-support-if-your-business-trades-with-t…
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has commissioned a survey on recording and rehearsal studios in the UK – the first government-backed piece of work in this area. Please do take the time to fill it in, as it will strengthen our arguments in discussions with the government, and hopefully illustrate the importance of the sector within the wider music industry as we begin our economic recovery. The survey is open to studio owners/managers and studio users such as engineers and producers. It closes March 17th, take the survey here
International Transgender Day of Visibility
On Transgender Day of Visibility, March 31st, we want to celebrate and highlight our trans, non-binary and other gender minority members – if that’s you and you’d like to have a shout out on our social media please get in touch by emailing email@example.com with a short biog and hi-res photo and social media handles.
Finally, we like to thanks all of our members for their support. The MPG is achieving big wins for the industry, and that is down to you, whether it be from paying your subscription, filling out our surveys, or even just sharing our social media content.