UK chancellor suggests that musicians should find alternate jobs amid ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
Much like the United States, the United Kingdom is experiencing a devastating unemployment crisis. In response to increasing unemployment numbers and economic deficit, the UK’s government has launched multiple economic plans to offset job losses, leaving creative fields without extra funding, including the music, arts, and nightlife industries.
In a recent interview with ITV News, UK chancellor Rishi Sunak was asked whether or not he encourages musicians and other creatives—two professional subgroups that have been hit hardest by COVID-19—to find other jobs in light of the pandemic. Sunak stated,
“I can’t pretend that anyone can do exactly the same job as they were at the beginning of this crisis, and that’s why we put a lot of resources into trying to create new opportunities and ways to adapt to this new reality.”
ITV News‘ Daniel Hewitt quickly rebutted, “but that’s a different job isn’t it? That’s you saying go and get a different job?” Sunak replied,
“That is [a] fresh and new opportunity for people; that’s exactly what we should be doing.”
Public outcry in response to Sunak’s statements prompted him to take to Twitter shortly after the interview to clarify his position. In a tweet, Sunak took a less lukewarm position on musicians’ alleged “need to retrain,” referencing the £1.57 billion government support package developed to help independent venues stay afloat via grants and loans, announced in July.
To people concerned by inaccurate reports that I told musicians to retrain… here’s the transcript. I did not say it and I do not think it.— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) October 7, 2020
Musicians don’t need to retrain. When it’s safe, venues need to reopen. That’s why we’ve created a £1.57bn package to protect the arts. pic.twitter.com/6VhN8yYYUM
Via: ITV News
Featured image: Lindrik/Getty Images/iStockphoto