Lord Lipsey, Trinity Laban Chairman, met recently with David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary and Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries in his capacity as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Classical Music Group (APPG) to discuss concerns that musicians could be subject to crippling national insurance contributions.
In 1978 the Government introduced regulations to provide earnings-related contributory benefit protection to 'entertainers', and payments made for concert engagements for deputies, extras and freelance musicians were not liable for Class 1 NICs. However, the consequence of an Upper Tribunal decision concerning actors means this could now be at threat.
Mr Gauke advised that the issue would be put out to public consultation which would be published in May, with a view to implementing changes that are intended to be in place for the 2014/15 tax year. The Minister also gave an assurance that there were no plans at HMRC to undertake a concerted campaign of compliance.
Lord Lipsey said: "The imposition of class 1 contributions would be catastrophic for freelance musicians and the wider orchestral sector. We welcome the imminent publication of the public consultation and will continue to engage with the government on behalf of musicians."
The Association of British Orchestras has been campaigning to raise awareness of the issue. For more information, see www.abo.org.uk.