Below are some examples of best practice we’re seeing across Europe in terms of measures to support the cultural/music sector. Please note that the list is necessarily subjective and not exhaustive. It’s based on IMPALA’s scan of the country infomation submitted by members in response to IMPALA’s survey of members. This information is hosted on the country pages on IMPALA’s mapping site which is evolving constantly, so please check in regularly.
From this data IMPALA extracted a number of measures which we see as worthy of being highlighted. Of course others might see things differently and put other measures forward. It also depends a lot on the size of the country and of its music/culture sector. For example, a certain sum might sound significant in one country but not in another.
Please also note that IMPALA is reviewing the efficiency of measures in practice and feedback is still coming in. There are two elements to note here:
support needs to flow more quickly (one country clearly leads the way with Germany paying out literally within days of making its 50bn euro fund available)
in some countries independent associations have to work hard to try and make sure that the eligibility conditions work for their members.
With the above in mind, below is IMPALA’s overview.
Many countries have put in place one or more of the following general economic measures, which music companies can benefit from:
*interest free crisis loans
*company tax relief
*income support for employees
*income support for freelance workers
*unemployment relief for freelance workers
*lower interest rates (general)
*business rates payment holiday
*employer social security payment holiday
*loan repayment holiday
*mortgage payment holiday
*tax returns and or VAT returns suspended/delayed
Tax and social security holidays, loan guarantee instruments, lower interest rates, income support, loan & mortgage payment holidays in particular seem to be quite common.
It is difficult to compare one country’s measures with others, because their size is different in terms of populations, sectors, etc. but here is a selection of some of the “best practices” we’ve seen in terms of general economic measures which the music/cultural sector can benefit from, and measures specific to the cultural sector:
-A hardship fund of €2bn has been launched as a safety net for the self-employed
-Emergency loan guarantee instrument for cultural and creative enterprises
-€8,4m for culture from a €50m emergency fund for sectors most impacted by the confinement measures.
-Government pays up to 90% of wage for 3 months for workers who are sent home, covers income for self-employed, helps to cover fixed costs.
-For businesses forced by law to close down, all expenditures including rent will be fully covered by the State.
-Solidarity fund of €7bn for micro and small enterprises, as well as freelance workers. Those who have lost over 50% of their turnover year on year between March 2019 will receive a €1,500 flat fee while those facing bankruptcy can receive between €2,000 and €5,000.
-€11,5m emergency fund for micro and small live music companies
-Reimbursement of outstanding monies owed as part of the tax credit for phonogram production can be speeded up by request to the finance directorate.
-For temporary workers (« intermittents »), it was announced 19 march that the coronavirus period is frozen, which means it won't be taken into account for calculating the period of reference which opens their rights and won't impact those who were arriving at the end of the unemployment benefits. Early May the President announced that this frozen period was extended to a year, which means that temporary workers will receive their unemployment benefits until August 2021.
-It was announced in May that the Centre National de la Musique would receive an additional €50m for this year's budget.
-The federal government offers smaller firms up to €50bn in grants. The self-employed and firms with up to five employees can apply for a one-off grant of up to €9,000. Companies with up to ten employees can apply for a one-time grant of up to €15,000. Germany was very efficient in getting this support out, paying out literally within days of making this fund available.
-On 7 April, the Government announced it was expanding credit assistance for small and medium-sized enterprises. The new programme "KfW Quick Loan 2020" is 100% exempt from liability.
-Berlin : €500m emergency coronavirus package for the self-employed and small companies with a maximum of five employees. Among those it aims to support are people working in the creative industries, the arts, education, tourism and retail. The maximum amount available per application is €5,000.
- On 3rd June, the government announced a new set of measures from cultural sectors can also benefit:
The new measures include the development of a program ("Neustart Kultur") to mitigate the effects of the Corona pandemic in the cultural field, with an emphasis on the conservation and strengthening of the cultural infrastructure. 1bn euros have been allocated to this programme. See here. This stimulus package includes a €10m increase for Initiative Musik, a programme which supports artists and can now co-fund Creation, rehearsal & pre-production (co-funding going from 40% to 90%).
Reduction of the general VAT rates for six months from 19% to 16% (and from 7% to 5% for the cultural sectors).
Enabling the tax loss carry forward for 2020 and 2021, which should be made available for financial purposes immediately when the tax return is made in 2019/2020. This is especially important for companies in the cultural and creative industries.
A program for bridging aids (25 billion euros) is being set up with clubs, sponsors of youth facilities, event logistics companies being eligible.
Cultural sectors can also benefit from the extension of simplified access to basic security until 09/30/2020.
A program for the stabilisation of charitable institutions.
Expansion of digitisation, including broadband expansion, which is important for companies in the cultural and creative industries, cultural institutions and non-profit cultural institutions in rural areas.
-Direct and non-refundable grants of €5,000 to companies with less than 9 employees that had to close because of the crisis.
-In April, the government announced an extra fund for Culture of €300 million. However, this plan is mostly targeting the already subsidised part of Cultural activities like concert halls, orchestras and the likes. It seems artists and actors are not eligible for any grants. This has been heavily criticised, but the idea of a fund specifically for culture is an example you might want to use.
-A compensation scheme for otherwise sustainable businesses with at least 30 percent drop in revenue due to the virus outbreak. The amount of support will depend, among other things, on the size of revenue loss, the size of the enterprise’s unavoidable fixed costs and whether the enterprise has been ordered by the government to close.
-For the music/cultural sector a fund of 300 mill NOK (approx. €26m) has been set up to ease the cancellation of public events (i.e festivals) in the period from 12th March through April 2020 (On 7th April, the ban on public events was prolonged till 15th June)
- Companies and self-employed in the cultural sectors have access to the first tranche (€20bn) of the €100bn credit guarantee programme for companies and self-employed mentioned above.
-Department of Culture have announced €50m in support for the culture sector affected by cancelled events and the restrictions for live events.
-Emergency funding of CHF 280m (around €265m) has been made available specifically for arts and culture. This includes non-repayable loans to cover the living costs of artists whose livelihoods are threatened by measures to combat the coronavirus.
- Cultural businesses which have suffered financial losses due to closure, or cancellation or postponement of events or projects, can request compensation from the cultural service of the canton where their company is headquartered. The compensation covers a maximum of 80% of financial losses.
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to gain grants for 80% of salaries (capped at £2,500 per month) of staff who do not work for periods of at least 3 weeks (‘furloughed’). The intention of the scheme is to avoid companies having to make redundancies or lay off staff as a result of this crisis.
-Business Rates Relief: a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England for the 2020-21 tax year. The Treasury subsequently published guidance on an expansion to the business rates relief which includes live music venues, shops, restaurants, cafes and bars (doesn't seem to include festivals, studios or labels, publishers' offices, etc.)