Ruth Cadbury MP
House of Commons
Dear Rt Hon Oliver Dowden MP,
I’m writing to you regarding the serious impact that the coronavirus is having on our
creative sector, both locally in Hounslow but also across the whole of the UK. I know
from the large number of local residents who’ve contacted me that the impact is being
felt across the whole sector. Whether it’s West End theatre actors and actresses, those
working in our growing digital industry in Chiswick, live bands and musicians or the
scores of people working behind the scenes I know that the outbreak of covid-19 has
had a huge impact.
I also know that theatres, music venues and other live venues face extra difficulty as
they are unable to open due to the current social distancing guidelines of two metres.
While it is vital that the Government follow the scientific advice regarding the correct
spacing I know that many of my constituents are also extremely anxious about not
knowing when they will be able to return to work.
Additionally, I know that many venues are burning through their cash reserves, as
they do not receive public funding. Many such as the Old Vic have warned about the
serious and urgent financial challenges they are facing.
These challenges facing the wider sector were made clear this week in a report from
the Creative Industries Federation which warned that 400,000 creative jobs could be
lost- over 100,000 of these job losses would impact London. It is vital that the
Government take urgent action to mitigate these jobs loses and ensure that the sector
receives a tailored and specific package of support to ensure it can survive.
As you no doubt know our creative sector is internationally renown for its excellent
workforce and its high quality output- I’m concerned that without active and tailored
support from the Government this could be at risk.
Additionally, I remain concerned that many of those working in the sector still cannot
access the governments economic support programs; whether that is the Coronavirus
Job Retention Scheme or the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.
There are a number of reasons for this; ranging from the fact that they receive earnings
through limited companies, or the fact that they were paid through short term PAYE contracts.
I have raised this repeatedly with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as have colleagues
across the House. I remain concerned that the Government have not fixed these gaps
and I hope that urgent action is taken to ensure that the workforce within the creative
industry can receive support.
I look forward to hearing from you about what urgent steps the Government is taking
both to support the industry but also to ensure that those working within it can access
the support that they need.