Sign, and donate.

Updates on 23 and 24 March shown in italic.

Desperate times for everyone, but the heart sinks when thinking of musicians, actors, artists, production staff, front of house and box office staff, composers, critics and writers, agencies, administration staff and venue managers, music teachers, and more – many of whom are freelance and self-employed, and as of 22 March have been left out of the UK government’s rescue package for the current emergency situation. Yes, a tiny number are quite rich. The vast majority are most definitely not rich at all, and mainly live from week to week dependent not principally on a fixed salary, but on cash flow from performances, ticket sales, grants, commissions, events – most of which will be discontinued for the foreseeable future.

Some of these people are my friends and acquaintances, all are an inspiration. Their work contributes to a civilised society, and in particular a society which congregates for live performances to renew and reconsider the massive (and yes, European) artistic heritage that helps define that civilisation. Stopping this work for more than few days will lead to unforeseeable personal problems for all involved.

If you want it in economic terms, the UK’s creative industries as a whole contributed over £110bn to Gross Value Added in 2018, grew five times faster than the rest of the economy, and made 12% of the UK’s services exports. The case for the economic value of creative industries is now accepted by all but a handful of the UK’s members of parliament – but perhaps many of them do not fully understand how this value is driven by individuals rather than corporations. Take the individuals away, and the monetary and economic value will vanish also.

What to do to help?

  1. Sign every relevant petition. Ignore concerns about petition fatigue. Make your support clear.As of 22 March, these appear to be the main relevant UK petitions on

(the first two started by individuals, the third jointly by the Creative Industries Federation and the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed)

Update 23 March 2020


On the UK parliament petitions site, these are the three main relevant petitions:

  • Include self-employed in statutory sick pay during Coronavirus

  • Provide financial support to performers and creators during the COVID-19 crisis

(this last one was started by the conductor Kenneth Woods @kennethwoods and is in urgent need of another 7,700 signatures.) Update 23 March 2020 this is still in urgent need of over 6,700 signatures. Please sign it!

Update 23 March 2020

  • Pay self-employed workers a wage due to lack of earnings caused by COVID-19


2. Donate, if you can.

and if you can afford it, consider donating your existing advance ticket purchases to the organisations whose performances you had planned to visit.


3. Follow organisations on twitter for the latest news of their campaigns and announcements:



4. Share these letters, the first from members of the House of Lords to the government, the second from music organisations and charities to the Chancellor:

Update 23 March 2020

  • letter from Bambos Charalambous MP to the Chancellor
  • cross-party letter from councillors from 23 London Boroughs to the Chancellor
  • cross-party letter from MPs to the Chancellor
  • letter from the Shadow Chancellor and Labour MPs to the Chancellor

Update 24 March 2020


5. Update 24 March 2020: This Amendment to the Coronavirus Bill tabled by Munira Wilson MP was unfortunately not called for debate, and currently will not be included in the bill:

6. Update 24 March 2020 Email your MP using one or all of these templates:

(the Musicians Union link explains that the Amendment is no longer on the table, but gives a template for writing to your MP that is still relevant).



If anyone knows of other petitions, or charities to promote, please let me know and I will update this list.