The Tory Chancellor has been slammed after effectively telling British musicians and those working in the arts industry who are struggling to find work because of the ongoing pandemic that they should simply find a different job in another sector.
Speaking to ITV News, Sunak confirmed that professionals working in the creative sector who are still unable to work due to the effects of the ongoing pandemic would not be provided with any additional government support as such jobs were supposedly now unviable.
When asked whether people working in the arts should simply try and find another job in a different sector, Sunak said:
“It’s a very sad time. […] I can’t pretend that everyone can do exactly the same job that they were doing at the beginning of this crisis. That’s why we’ve put a lot of our extra resource into trying to create new opportunities for people. “
And, when pressed further about whether he was really telling creatives to simply “go and get a different job” in a different sector, Sunak responded by saying:
“That is fresh and new opportunity for people. That’s exactly what we should be doing.”
(You can watch Sunak’s highly controversial comments about musicians and creatives in the video below)
The UK is world-renowned for music and the arts, and the Chancellor’s implication that the industry doesn’t really matter and that musicians and artists should essentially retrain and find work in a new sector has unsurprisingly caused fury amongst creatives on social media.
I suggest Rishi shoves my records up his arse ! pic.twitter.com/GZCQXffBiH
— Badly Drawn Boy (@badly_drawn_boy) October 6, 2020
Without the arts, our lives are impoverished. This is nuts. https://t.co/gWeRfQ2iby
— Ian Rankin (@Beathhigh) October 6, 2020
The arts contributes in the region of 10 billion a year to our economy. The people who work in it have already trained long and hard, thank you. This is shameful. https://t.co/uD5rhfzwm0
— Sue Perkins (@sueperkins) October 6, 2020
The government have failed us repeatedly during this pandemic, not the arts. You go and retrain you prick and take all your Tory pals with you. It’s been more apparent than ever how important entertainment is for the last 7 months. https://t.co/xV3r3UtOWN
— Steven Cree (@MrStevenCree) October 6, 2020
As this government has failed so badly on so many levels might I suggest Johnson, Sunak, Hancock etal retrain for jobs they are more suited to ?https://t.co/sWwFXujWhq
— Con O'Neill (@cononeilluk) October 6, 2020
I mean..I already have a 0-hrs job (which I count myself lucky to have) and under Sunak's plans have no idea what's happening post-October. These soulless bastards hell bent on demolishing anything with any heart and soul in it. https://t.co/cblShAGZSp
— Laura Groves (@Laura_Groves_) October 6, 2020
This Government doesn't believe the jobs of artists, musicians and others in creative industries are worth saving.
Art and culture is part of what makes this country, and my constituency, great. The jobs and venues that are its lifeblood must be saved.https://t.co/UhFKWpCic1
— Tulip Siddiq (@TulipSiddiq) October 6, 2020
The idea that we've spent our whole careers swanking around just playing music from Rishi … we're not all Mick Jagger … most of us are multi-skilled small businesses and most of us understand databases to a higher level than Dido fucking Harding!https://t.co/60CCQrjLhf
— John Spiers (@squeezyjohn) October 6, 2020
Hey @RishiSunak I’ve been working as an DJ/producer for over a decade and you can get fucked if you think I’m gonna “re-train and find another job”.
The person that needs another job is you – and all the other stupid people chatting this nonsense. https://t.co/I0vlCBNrSx
— Hannah Wants (@hannah_wants) October 6, 2020
Alternatively, @RishiSunak, you could give us the £1.57bn arts rescue package you promised in July. So far not a single penny of it has been paid out to the performing arts.https://t.co/2MoqOZ8S5m
— Barnaby Edwards (@BarnabyEdwards) October 6, 2020
The government’s Job Retention Scheme (widely known as the Furlough Scheme) is set to end on October 31st, and will be replaced by the Job Support Scheme.
The Furlough Scheme initially guaranteed workers 80% of their wages if they were unable to work because of the effects of the ongoing pandemic – with the amount tapering down to 70% in September and 60% in October.
However, the government’s new Job Support Scheme will drastically reduce support to a maximum of just 22% on November 1st.
Furthermore, the new scheme stipulates that employees must work at least a third of their normal hours to be eligible, and it also forces employers to pay workers for hours they haven’t actually worked.
Unsurprisingly, the new scheme has been criticised across the board, with many pointing out that it actually makes re-employing workers on a part time basis more expensive for employers – meaning at least a million jobs will almost certainly be lost when it comes into effect.
Shortly after the announcement of his new scheme, Sunak also refused to guarantee that unemployment would not reach four million as a result of the drastic change.
ITV Tweet Controversy
As we have been writing this piece, ITV have deleted their viral tweet reporting Sunak’s controversial comments about musicians and creatives.
It is understood that Sunak’s office contacted ITV after their tweet – which correctly stated that he had effectively told musicians and creatives to retrain and get another job – went viral, gaining more than 7,000 angry quote tweets.
In addition to deleting their entirely accurate tweet, ITV have also since changed the headline and the main thrust of their article, as well as posting a new clarification tweet claiming that Sunak’s comments were supposedly “not specifically about the music or arts sectors“:
An earlier tweet about this story has been deleted and the article has changed to reflect that the Chancellor's comments were about employment generally and not specifically about the music or arts sectors https://t.co/NeFkg7Xysz
— ITV News (@itvnews) October 6, 2020
In addition, Mr Sunak has also tweeted to claim that ITV’s tweet “falsely suggested I thought people in arts should retrain and find other jobs.“
An earlier @itvnewspolitics tweet falsely suggested I thought people in arts should retrain and find other jobs.
I'm grateful they have now deleted that tweet. I care deeply about the arts which is why our £1.57bn culture package is one of the most generous in the world. https://t.co/raEXxXUMqx
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) October 6, 2020
However, as you can watch in the video of him making the comments above, Sunak does precisely that:
So ITV News deleted that tweet everyone's sharing where Sunak said artists should look for new jobs… even though that's pretty much what he said. He just uses 'opportunities' as a euphemism in a segment's explicitly about jobs. Headline reworded: https://t.co/g21VscBsZJ
— Francis Whittaker (@frittaker) October 6, 2020
One wonders what the motivation was behind ITV's decision to delete that Rishi Sunak tweet pic.twitter.com/ZfjbU6jSKk
— Spooky 'Client Journalism' Expert (@ClientJournoExp) October 6, 2020
Interesting, I wonder if anyone on Sunak's team has any connections to ITV.
— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson) October 6, 2020
Unlike the mainstream media, Evolve Politics will never be afraid to report the truth – even if we are threatened by the rich and powerful.