Oral Answers to Questions

Pete Wishart Excerpts
Thursday 9th March 2023

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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As the hon. Member will know, there is an investigation by the commissioner for employment. It is ongoing and I am awaiting the outcome.

Pete Wishart Portrait Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP)
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7. What discussions she has had with music industry representatives on the impact of increases in the cost of living on musicians.

Julia Lopez Portrait The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Julia Lopez)
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Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Ministers regularly engage with music industry representatives from across the live music and recorded music sectors. I met representatives from Live to hear directly about the challenges facing musicians. I look forward to meeting the Music Venue Trust shortly, to hear more from the grassroots music sector on the cost of living pressures.

Pete Wishart Portrait Pete Wishart
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I am sure the Minister will want to join me in congratulating Mae Muller on being selected as the UK’s representative at Eurovision in Liverpool.

Surely the Minister acknowledges that the creative sector has probably been the most heavily impacted sector throughout this cost of living crisis, and that musicians have probably been the most impacted within that sector. Earnings for recordings are next to zero, Europe is effectively closed to them, musicians who want to travel to the US face visa problems, and studios and rehearsal spaces are at great risk because of sky-high energy bills. The charity Help Musicians has found that 90% of musicians—the lifeblood of the music sector—are worried about how they are going to pay their next food bill, and half are thinking about leaving the industry. Does the Minister believe that this is the worst possible time to be an aspiring musician, and what is she going to do to rectify the situation and support our musicians?

Julia Lopez Portrait Julia Lopez
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As a musician himself, the hon. Gentleman is a tremendous champion of the music industry, and I appreciate all the work he does. He has raised a series of points. On an individual level, the Government have put forward a substantial package to help people through the cost of living crisis. That is an extension of the cultural recovery fund. We also have the Arts Council England fund for supporting grassroots live music. He highlighted issues about US visas, which I am very concerned about and on which we are engaging with US counterparts. I encourage him to get the industry to engage with that consultation, and I am happy to engage with him on some of the issues he raises.