EIC0806

Written evidence submitted by Mr Adam Martin (Guitarist, Self Employed Musician at Mamma Mia! London West End)

 

  What gaps in coverage still remain and are changes required to increase their effectiveness?

  What problems (if any) are individuals facing in claiming support from the Job Protection Scheme and the Self-employment Income Support Scheme?

 

1. I have been a self-employed professional musician for just under 15 years - and a higher rate tax payer for many of those.

 

2. My current main job is Guitar#1 on the West End production of the Abba show Mamma Mia! In Londons West End. Along with doing this gig regularly I am involved in a wide range other bands / recording sessions / teaching / corporate gigs as a freelancer.

 

3. My income stopped completely on March 16th 2020 when theatres and venues closed.

 

4. I am the sole earner & have a young family and the associated expenses that go with that - mortgage on a family home near to London, high day to day costs (London) - and childcare, food bills, council tax etc.

 

5. I am ineligible for SEISS because of the £50k cliff edge whereupon if one exceeds £50k profit you are not eligible for financial assistance.

 

6. I have several issues with this.

 

7. Firstly - There is no £50k cap for PAYE workers - so many on furlough who earn more than me will be getting assistance unto the £2500p/m boundary. The cap is factored into the £2500p/m boundary. So how can it possibly be fair to further handicap the self-employed when theres a monthly limit to assistance anyway?

 

8. Secondly - If there is a household (I know a few!) where two people (married or co-habiting for example) individually earn under the cap they will received x2 doses of support up to £2500pm. Yet like in my household - if one person (I am the main earner and my wife has a part time job) earns just above then that household gets nothing.

 

9. Third - The arbitrary figure of a £50k is irrespective of location. A person earning £50k profit with a family and overheads living in Hull is going to feel much better off than a person like myself, forced to live near London for work and thus contending with the most expensive living costs in the country.

 

10. I am far from alone in this situation. A whole community of Musicians and Performers who have invested blood, sweat and tears in Music and the Arts have been forgotten.

 

11. Not a single musician full time on a West End show will be eligible for SEISS due to the unfair pay cap. Only musicians who run their accounts as small LTD companies will be eligible for anything via furlough payment (often not much £5-600 a month if lucky). This is devastating for families, careers, and in the wider picture the cultural landscape of the UK.

 

12. I urgently implore a review of SEISS not only for the £50k cliff edge victims but for other self employed who may be new-starters, less than 50% self employed but not eligible for furlough, those who pay themselves by dividend etc. It is not TOO complicated; even if it is complicated.

 

13. When Rishi Sunak stood at the podium at the beginning of this crisis and stated You will not be left behind- did he mean it?

 

June 2020