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The former MP, shadow culture secretary and Labour Deputy Leader, who was appointed to the position of UK Music Chair in late March, said the government had a responsibility to increase its aid to those in the music industry impacted by lockdown measures.
“We are going to need more help from the government, especially if restrictions on large gatherings such as concerts are to remain in place until the end of the year,” he said, as reported by Music Week.
“I would urge the government to work with us at UK Music to ensure that our music industry remains the envy of the world.”
Watson added that his role in politics meant that he realised “how slowly the wheels of government can turn.”
He continued: “Many in the music business are directors of their own small firms. But they are disqualified from the self-employed scheme and cannot furlough themselves as this would stop their firms from operating.
“Rightly, the immediate focus of everyone is on the unprecedented public health emergency facing us. However, it is vital we start to look forward and think about how we can best emerge from this lockdown and revive the economy and get music people back to doing what they love.
“We are going to need more help from the government, especially if restrictions on large gatherings such as concerts are to remain in place until the end of the year.”
Watson’s appointment has been greeted with a mixed response. A report by The Times last week (April 24) claimed that his new role had “alarmed” the British Phonographic Industry, whose members account for 85% of music sales and who are among the ten music groups with directors who sit on the board of UK Music.
UK Music responded to the criticism in a statement, saying Watson’s selection was “ratified by the UK Music Board in March and widely welcomed across the music industry.”