Rishi Sunak has suggested that struggling musicians and others in the arts industry may need to retrain and find new jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The chancellor’s stark comments come after recent research revealed that a third of musicians could leave the industry due to financial losses.
When asked if out-of-work musicians and creatives should seek alternative employment, he told ITV News: “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 resource into trying to create new opportunities.”
He went on to concede that unemployment is “likely to increase” but stressed the government is “trying to do everything we can to protect as many jobs as possible.”
Sunak said that employment was still available in the creative industries, but added that “everyone is having to find ways to adapt and adjust to the new reality.”
When asked about support for creatives, Sunak pointed towards the government’s £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund, days after it was confirmed that music venues will have to wait a week longer than anticipated to find out whether they will receive a grant.
With early April 2021 earmarked as the earliest date that full capacity gigs might be able to return, a number of musicians, crew, venues and industry bosses have also warned of bankruptcies and catastrophic damage to the live music sector unless support is provided to mothball the gig sector until it is safe to put shows on.