The General Secretary of the Musician’s Union (MU) has called on the Chancellor and Culture Secretary to take urgent action to save some of the UK’s best-known orchestras.
Naomi Pohl has written to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer asking for support for Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisations Northern Ballet, English National Opera and Royal Opera House, as well as other organisations “struggling with real terms funding cuts that threaten musicians’ jobs and pay”.
In her letter, Pohl said: “The financial pressures include the lingering impact of the pandemic closure period, rising costs such as energy, travel and accommodation, plus at best static public funding.
“For organisations like ENO and Royal Opera House that run listed buildings, the costs of doing so have risen sharply, and this is affecting their budgets for creative output.”
“While the Covid recovery loans were intended to keep organisations like these running through the height of the pandemic crisis and out the other side, many cannot afford to repay them now without making significant additional cuts to their budgets.”
The MU has requested the government to consider a range of actions, including writing off Covid recovery loans for the live performance sector and making the extension of orchestral and theatre tax relief permanent.