| 7.2°C Belfast

Musician ineligible for Government freelance aid ‘staring into the abyss’

Jacquelyn Hynes has 20 years experience in the music industry.

Close

Jacquelyn Hynes (Santa Villuma/Musucians’ Union/PA)

Jacquelyn Hynes (Santa Villuma/Musucians’ Union/PA)

Jacquelyn Hynes (Santa Villuma/Musucians’ Union/PA)

A musician and lecturer has said she is “staring into the abyss” after discovering she is not eligible for the Government’s freelance aid.

Jacquelyn Hynes, a flautist with 20 years experience in the music industry, could face losing “almost 100%” of her income by September, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms Hynes, who is based in London, does not qualify for a Government grant as 49% of her income comes from freelance work, while the other 51% is earned through zero-hour contracts such as teaching at the Irish Cultural Centre in London and Leeds College of Music.

Close

Jacquelyn Hynes (Maurice Gunning/Musicians’ Union/PA)

Jacquelyn Hynes (Maurice Gunning/Musicians’ Union/PA)

Jacquelyn Hynes (Maurice Gunning/Musicians’ Union/PA)

However, she said that work could be cancelled due to lack of student enrolment.

Millions of self-employed and freelance people will get a grant worth up to £2,500 a month to help them through the crisis.

However, the support may not be available until June and it will only be available to workers who earn more than 50% of their income come from self-employment.

Ms Hynes, a member of the Musicians’ Union, told the PA news agency: “We are doing lectures online, we are creating materials, we are organising the courses for the third term.

“But because lecturers and music teachers are on zero-hour contracts, if the courses are cancelled due to lack of student enrolment, then we will lose that income as well.

Close

Chancellor Rishi Sunak (PA Video)

Chancellor Rishi Sunak (PA Video)

PA

Chancellor Rishi Sunak (PA Video)

“Potentially, I could be facing in September losing almost 100% of my income.

“I am a single, self-employed musician with a mortgage in London. I will lose my home.

“That’s what I am looking at.

“I am staring into the abyss and a lot of my friends are as well.”

Bodies such as PRS For Music, the Musicians’ Union and Help Musicians have launched hardship funds allocating one-off payments to musicians.

However, Ms Hynes said such grants were not designed to replace complex income streams built up over 20 years.

Addressing the Government’s freelance aid, she said: “The measures, such as they were, were welcomed and it was very much noted and appreciated that the Chancellor mentioned musicians at the top of his list.

“But really, to our distress, because of the nature of our careers as portfolio careers, we are almost all falling through the cracks.”

Close

Anna Neale (Anna Neale/Musicians’ Union/PA)

Anna Neale (Anna Neale/Musicians’ Union/PA)

Anna Neale (Anna Neale/Musicians’ Union/PA)

Anna Neale, a singer-songwriter, lecturer and composer, said 30% of her income had been affected by the outbreak, but that she expected that figure to rise to 60% in summer.

Ms Neale, a member of The Ivors Academy Songwriter Committee, draws a substantial amount of income from teaching during autumn, while in summer this shifts to live performance.

The 38-year-old, who is married and lives in Surrey, told PA: “It has been busy but I am fully expecting this to tail off very quickly once everyone has accepted the panic and accepted that we are a little bit stuffed.

“Every single live performance I had has been cancelled.

“At the moment 30% of my income has been impacted but once we get to the summer about 60% of income has been hit.”

Ms Neale makes up part of her income by composing for radio and TV advertisements.

She added: “Every single live show I have was pulled and also every single compositional product has now gone on hold.

“The only people who are commissioning music are those in post-production and I wasn’t working on anything in post-production.

“Education is the thing that is keeping me going. I am pretty savvy.

“I have a portfolio career so I work across lots of different areas of music.”

– Interviews sourced through the Musicians’ Union, which has set up a hardship fund for its members, who can apply for grants of £200 online. More details can be found at musiciansunion.org.uk.

PA