INTERVIEWER DANIEL HEWITT: You’ve said you want to save as many jobs as possible, but you can’t save every job. It appears in some sectors you’re not trying very hard. For musicians, actors, directors, freelancers in the arts, they say you’ve not helped them at all. Where is the help for those businesses, those jobs , for those people in those industries who simply can’t work?
RISHI SUNAK: In the cultural sector a few months ago we outlined £1.5billion cultural recovery programme. That money is now getting out the door, it’s being administered by the Arts Council and other bodies, I think money’s gone to independent cinemas and independent music venues just in the last week. That’s £1.5billion, it’s an enormous amount of support to preserve our important cultural institutions in all our local town centres and elsewhere and with regard to those who are self-employed, between two and a half and three million people have been able to access our self-employed support scheme, many of the people you mentioned will be able to do that and it remains one of the most comprehensive and generous support programmes for those who are self-employed anywhere in the world.
INTERVIEWER: If you’re a professional musician, what is your message right now? If they can’t earn enough money to live, is your message for them, you’re going to have to get another job?
RISHI SUNAK: I think as I’ve said, my simple message to everybody is that we are trying to do everything we can to protect as many jobs as possible.
INTERVIEWER: But they don’t think you are. In that sector, they just don’t think you are, Chancellor.
RISHI SUNAK: It’s a very sad time, three quarters of a million people have already lost their jobs, we know that and that is likely to increase and many more people will. I can’t pretend that everyone can do exactly the same job they were doing at the beginning of this crisis and that’s why we’ve put a lot of our extra resource into trying to create new opportunities for people, so our kickstart scheme for example for young people who are most at risk of becoming unemployed, all the way up to the age of 24 ,are going to benefit from a fully funded job placement
INTERVIEWER: But that’s a different job isn’t it, that’s you saying go and get a different job
RISHI SUNAK: That fresh and new opportunity for people, that’s exactly what we should be doing
INTERVIEWER: But we’re a country that has created so many fabulous musicians and artists and actors and you’re effectively saying “Look, I know it’s hard, but maybe go and get another job”.
RISHI SUNAK: I think you’re probably not quite right that there’s no work available for any of them at all
INTERVIEWER: For a lot of them, there isn’t
RISHI SUNAK: In all walks of life everyone is having to adapt, I’m getting emails and seeing how theatre companies are adapting and putting on different kids of performances, it is possible to do theatrical performances online as well and for people to engage with them that way and for new business models to emerge, plenty of music lessons are still carrying on , the same thing happens, certainly in my household and elsewhere. So yes can things happen in exactly the way they did, no, but everyone is having to find ways to adapt and adjust to the new reality, and that’s what we all have to do, and that’s why we are allowing that to happen and also providing new opportunity for people if that’s the right vehicle for them.