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New job support plans 'leave nightclubs behind'

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  • Coronavirus pandemic
image copyrightRyan Arnold
image captionRyan Arnold DJing before the pandemic

DJs and nightclub staff say the government's new job support plans are leaving them and their industry behind.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has outlined plans for employees in "viable" jobs - working at least a third of their normal hours - to benefit from a wage top-up scheme.

But those hours aren't there for club-workers, as many are shut or operating limited hours as bars amid Covid rules.

"I'm genuinely scared for the future of our industry," DJ Ryan Arnold tells us.

Ryan says it's unfair that the government isn't supporting people like him, who are being told they can't go back to work.

"The government is saying if we go to work that is breaking the law," he tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

"That's been the case since March, so you can't at the same time take away the support you gave us for making it illegal for us to work.

"Not a single performer, DJ, actress, nightclub owner I know wants to be at home, they want to be out there."

He adds: "I can speak from experience and say we are in no better position than we were in in March when the clubs were shut.

"So how is the support for it now less and then soon to be zero?

"It's upsetting because you spend your whole life working towards playing to people. Entertaining, making memories for people - I'm genuinely scared for the future of our industry."

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionSacha Lord founded Warehouse Project

According to the Night Time Industries Association, last year the night-time economy was the fifth biggest industry in the UK, accounting for at least 8% of the UK's employment and creating annual revenues of £66bn.

Sacha Lord is Greater Manchester's night-time economy advisor and the founder of Warehouse Project and Parklife Festival.

"Back in March, the Chancellor stood there and said that he would support businesses through this and he did a complete U-turn" he says.

"He turned his back on the whole of the nightclub industry - nightclubs, live music, venues, theatres, they are all shot, there's now no financial package at the end of this month.

"I can't see how they're going to reopen again, it's extremely concerning when there's 1.3 million people that work in nightclubs across the UK."

He says Thursday, when the chancellor announced his plans, marked "the tap being turned off" for the night-time industry.

"People now are fearful of their jobs, they're anxious, they don't know how they're going to pay the bills next month.

"I am urging strongly now the government to turn around and say, you know what we've realised we have made a mistake, we are going to support you" he says.

image copyrightCharlie Hewitt
image captionCharlie Hewitt working at Coachella

Without help from the government, 23-year-old Charlie Hewitt, who used to work at clubs, live music events and festivals, has had to change jobs completely.

"I'm now a delivery driver for a large supermarket chain," he says.

"I've had to vastly switch my career in the last six months.

"I trained to be working in the live events industry and it's all gone to waste because of this pandemic."

He says the support for his industry from the government has been "incredibly lacking".

"About one third of all music venues could close and a lot of people who are new to the industry and have a lot of potential are not going to get the chances they deserve."

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