MP calls for additional support for technicians who work in arts and culture industry

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09 Jul 2020
Margaret Greenwood MP has challenged the Minister of State for Digital and Culture after it emerged that a government support package to help the arts, culture and heritage industries will not reach companies and technicians who work to provide the sound, lighting and other technical aspects of arts venues and live events.

The Wirral West MP was speaking in an Urgent Question in Parliament, secured by Labour, on the support package which was announced last weekend.

Margaret Greenwood raised the example of a constituent who is a director of Merseyside-based technical production company Adlib which employs 167 people and supplies video, lighting, sound systems and technicians to performance venues and events on a rental basis.

She explained how her constituent is very worried that he and many other providers of services to performance venues will have to make many staff redundant within the next month if further government support is not made available.

Speaking after the Urgent Question in the House of Commons, Margaret Greenwood MP said:

“I asked the government’s Digital and Culture minister what she will do as a matter of urgency to support the incredibly important technical staff working in this industry.

“However, I felt that the minister’s answer failed to understand the importance of supporting technicians who work to provide the sound, lighting and other technical aspects of arts venues and live events.

“Without them, many productions simply wouldn't happen. There are real concerns that unless the government addresses this issue as a matter of urgency, the talent pool that has been trained up over the years will be lost as people with specialist expertise will have to find work in other industries.

“My constituent has made it clear to me that the feeling in the industry is that large scale events may not recover until April 2021 at the earliest. He has said that he thinks the most useful thing that the government could do to save jobs in his business and others like it would be to extend the furlough scheme until the industry recovers. However, the Chancellor has said that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will not run beyond October 2020.

“I have therefore written to the Minister today to press her again on what support will be provided to this part of the sector so that businesses can remain operational, retain talent and staff can keep their jobs.”

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