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General national economic measures
  • SME business interruption loan scheme - 12-month interest free - via banks (subject to application) 

  • larger business interruption loan scheme – via banks (subject to application) 

  • small business rates relief, including for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses 

  • business support grants in England, including for hospitality, retail and leisure (for rate-paying businesses) 

  • Income tax (self-assessment) relief (deferred payments) and payment assistance 

  • VAT relief (deferred payment) 

  • salary and sickness pay support for businesses for PAYE employees 

  • self-employed salary support scheme 

  • lower interest rates (general) – note: not yet being passed through to businesses 

  • loan repayment holiday (subject to banks’ own schemes) 

  • mortgage repayment holiday (subject to banks’ own schemes) 

  • protection for renters against eviction (unclear if available to commercial renters) 

  • short term debt purchase facility (for investment-grade businesses) 

  • extension of Universal Credit scheme for unemployed, low earners and self-employed 

  • further devolved government support in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 


More info:   


- The UK government has set out a package of temporary, targeted measures aimed at supporting public services, people and businesses through the period of disruption caused by COVID-19. This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:

  • Government backed loan scheme for small business:

    • ​Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is available for SMEs through more than 100 accredited lenders across the UK. This scheme was extended until 31st of March 2021. See here for more information.

    • Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS): a 100% government backed loan scheme for small business to enables them to access finance more quickly during the coronavirus outbreak. It was extended until 31st of March 2021 See here for more information.

  • Self-employed Business Support Scheme : The scheme provides critical support to the self-employed in the form of two grants, each available for three month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021. Find out more here.

  • Self-employment and Universal Credit - Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income, out of work or you cannot work. Find out if you’re eligible for Universal Credit. If you live in Northern Ireland, go to Universal Credit in Northern Ireland.

  • Job Retention Bonus: a £1,000 one-off taxable payment to the employer, for each eligible employee to be furloughed and kept continuously employed until 31 January 2021. Eligible people were able to claim the bonus between 15 February 2021 and 31 March 2021. Find out more here.

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was extended until the end of April 2021 with the government continuing to contribute 80% towards wages. See here for more.
  • Limited local furloughing: which will operate where businesses are forced to close due to local lockdowns. Find out which employees you can put on furlough and claim for through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

  • Business owners affected by the pandemic were protected from eviction until the end of March 2021. Read more here.

  • HMRC's tax:

    • ​If you did not make a Self Assessment payment on account due in July 2020, your payment deadline will have been delayed (deferred) until 31 January 2021. You do not have to contact HMRC and will not have to pay a penalty. Contact the HMRC coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline if you cannot pay any other tax bills because of coronavirus.

    • If you cannot pay your Self Assessment tax bill - You can set up a payment plan to spread the cost of your latest Self Assessment bill if you meet the following requirements:

      • you owe £30,000 or less

      • you do not have any other payment plans or debts with HMRC

      • your tax returns are up to date

      • it’s less than 60 days after the payment deadline.

  • Guidance for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

    • ​View the latest guidance on coronavirus for businesses in Scotland.

    • View the latest guidance on coronavirus for businesses in Wales.

    • View the latest guidance on coronavirus for businesses in Northern Ireland.

  • On 22nd September 2021, the government launched a £800 million Reinsurance Scheme to help give festivals, conferences and live events cover to plan with confidence. See more here.


- Government amended insolvency law to help companies keep trading: under the plans, the UK’s Insolvency Framework will add new restructuring tools to give companies breathing space and keep trading while they explore options for rescue. The proposals will also include key safeguards for creditors and suppliers to ensure they are paid. The Insolvency Act will be temporarily suspended specifically to give confidence to directors to continue trading without the threat of personal liability, should the company ultimately fall into insolvency.

For the latest information and advice, employers and business owners can visit the government's dedicated page.

- Business Rate Relief: the Treasury have published guidance on the expanded Business Rates relief which includes live music venues, shops, restaurants, cafes and bars


- Request for business intelligence: The Government is closely monitoring developments in relation to potential economic impacts on the UK economy and individual businesses and supply chain:  


- Bank of England measures to respond to the economic shock from COVID-19: The Bank of England launched a comprehensive package of measures to help UK businesses and households bridge across the economic disruption associated with COVID-19. Interest rates have been reduced from 0.75% to 0.1% and additional funding will be available for banks to increase lending, especially to SMEs.  

- The UK national association of independent labels (AIM) has contributed to the publication of back to work guidance for recording studios, rehearsal spaces music video shoots and capture for live streaming: see here.

National measures specific to the music sector or to culture in general 

In July 2020, the UK government announced a £1.57bn support package for Britain's arts and culture sector, in a package that includes struggling music venues (see here). Following up on that, on 25th July, the government released a £2.25m emergency package to save grassroots music venues. Up to 150 venues across the country are expected to benefit from the pot, which is the first portion of funding from the £1.57 billion support package.

Organisations were able to apply for the second tranche of funding until 26th January 2021. Moneys were received during during April-June 2021. £250 million were available in total for this second round of funding.

The Mayor of London announced a £2.3m emergency fund for culture (see here).

De-confinement process

Covid-19 measures and restrictions in the country can be found on the government's website.

Measures taken by local collecting society organisations 


- PRS for Music have announced an immediate PRS Emergency Relief Fund in partnership with  PRS Members' Fund  and  PRS Foundation to support members during the Coronavirus pandemic. Read more  here

-  On 27th March 2020, PPL announced £87.6M Q1 distribution and additional measures to help the music community:   

- On 15th April 2020, PPL has announced that it has pledged to contribute to existing music industry hardship funds for a total of £700,000:

  • £500,000 to the Help Musicians Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund

  • £100,000 to the Musicians' Union Coronavirus Hardship Fund

  • £100,000 to the AIM COVID-19 Crisis Fund

Other music funds 
  • AIM Launched a £1m Immediate Access Crisis Fund for Independent Music Contractors:

  • BPI launched £1.5m Covid-19 hardship fund backed by UK music industry (see here).

  • Arts Council England -£20 million available for artists, creative practitioners and freelancers. Artists and creative practitioners are able to apply for grants of up to £2,500 if they have a track record in publicly funded culture. Note that money from other Arts Council funds has been diverted to the Coronavirus fund. 

  • Musicians Union Coronavirus Hardship Fund: "£1M fund for MU members with genuine and pressing hardship" - 

  • Help Musicians launched the Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund, specifically created to alleviate some of the immediate financial pressures that many professional musicians are facing. The fund of £5m aimes to help reduce the worry many musicians are experiencing about their mounting household expenses. 

  • Eligible musicians are able to apply for a one-off payment of £500 through an online form. 

  • Creative Scotland launched two funding programmes on 27 March 2020 - the Bridging Bursary and repurposed Open Project Fund - to enable individuals and organisations to sustain their creative work and practice in these extremely challenging times -  

  • Welsh Government & CreativeWales’s  Grassroots Music Relief Fund (GMR )  has been create d to assist the music industry during the  challenges surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak. 


Support from online services 


No specific support for the UK so far. For other initiatives by online services, click here

Support from national radio and other media 


BBC support for SXSW shows. Find out more

Social media and other campaigns to promote music during the crisis 


- Campaign to support Independent Records Store: 

- Music Venues Trust’s open letter (see here): an Open Letter to Boris Johnson to cancel the Festival of Britain 2022 and use the £120 million investment to save grassroots culture. More info here


- Music  Venue  Trust  is asking the wider  music  industry to step up and help in:

  1.  They have launched the  Grassroots  Music  Venue Crisis Fund to raise £1 million for MVT's Emergency Response legal service, which (with a track record of 98% success) will use legal and financial support to prevent these closures. (Small donations can be made here, or for major donations, contact Beverley Whitrick –, 07809 155 388) 

  2. They are launching an  Adopt-A-Gig  scheme. For this, they were recruiting high-profile artists with exceptional social media reach who  can commit to a one hour online event (gig, Q&A, anything) specifically dedicated to raising money for one individual venue in crisis. ​

  3. On 26th April, they also launched the #saveourvenues campaign aimed at artists, fans & the music industry to support music venues throughout the UK as they continue to face economic threat. More here

- #MusicBusinessAdvice: AIM and other organisations have adopted an industry-wide hashtag to bring together advice for the music industry. Follow #musicbusinessadvice and use it to share something useful you’ve found. See the announcement here

- #Virtualpint campaign: a crowdfunding campaign aiming to raise £5,000 to help independent venues, pubs and arts spaces stay in business:

- AIM is lobbying UK government that independent music and culture must be prioritised as hard-hit sectors. The EU's rescue plan (including 37bn euros under the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative) came into force on 1st April 2020. The aim was mainly to support member states regarding healthcare, small business and other parts of the economy. It mobilised unused monies from EU structural and investment funds and will be spent nationally. On top of this, around EUR 180 billion (1% GDP) were made available for 2020 to allow governments to make tax cuts and or spend more to support unemployment and other costs.

Business and other expected losses 


-In October 2021, UK Music published its This Is Music 2021 annual report. The key findings were the following (see more here):

  • Employment plunged by 35% from 197,000 in 2019 to 128,000 in 2020

  • Music industry’s economic contribution fell 46% from £5.8bn to £3.1bn in 2020

  • Music exports dropped 23% from £2.9 billion in 2019 to £2.3 billion in 2020


In its previous "Music in Numbers" annual report, published in November 2020, UK music estimated that 85% of live revenue and 65% of music creator's income (rising to over 80% for those most dependent on live performance and recording studio work) would be lost in 2020. (see here)

-UK Musicians Union Covid Survey – This questionnaire informed UK Music's 2020 Music  By Numbers report. The UK Musicians Union covid surveys revealed the following at the time the polls were carried out:

-Since March 2020, the MU has conducted three impact polls to get data on the impact of Covid-19 on musicians and support lobbying work.

  • The first and second Covid-19 impact polls revealed that 38% musicians were falling through gaps in support and 19% were considering leaving the profession - these polls were instrumental in making the case for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme.

  • The third Covid-19 impact poll revealed that 34% were considering abandoning their career in music, while 37% were not sure.

  • 47% musicians had been forced to look for work outside them music industry

  • 70% were unable to undertake more than a quarter of their usual work

  • 36% musicians did not have any work at all

  • With the Government’s job retention schemes coming to an end:

    • 65% musicians were facing financial hardship

    • 87% musicians said they would be facing financial hardship as a result of the Government’s income support schemes ending in October of that year

    • 87% musicians would be earning less than £20,000 that year – well below the UK average income of £29,600

  • As a result, 88% musicians did not think that the Government had done enough to support musicians during the pandemic.

-In May 2020, the UK Live Music Group estimated COVID-19 damages for the live sector At $1.1bn: more than 550 grassroots music venues (82% of the total) were at immediate risk of closure. (see here).

-A survey conducted by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) back in May 2020 found that 92% of its members were facing collapse.

For more info:


AIM - Association of Independent Music -

United Kingdom

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