Welsh Labour MP for Ogmore, Chris Elmore, has lambasted the Chancellor of the Exchequer after he suggested that musicians and others working in the arts should look for “new opportunities”.
Rishi Sunak’s remarks to ITV earlier this week have been widely condemned by those working in the creative industries – many of whom say they are not currently receiving anywhere near enough support from the UK Government.
Chris challenged Boris Johnson directly on his Chancellor’s comments on Wednesday (7 October) at the latest session of Prime Minister’s Questions, stating that his comments had given the impression that the government was sending a message that those working in the arts should “go away, find a new job, you’re not our problem.”
Commenting after Prime Minister’s Questions, Chris Elmore MP said:
“I’ve previously welcomed the support the UK and Welsh Governments have made available since the pandemic began. We’re in an unprecedented situation and the support being made available reflects this.
“But it’s clear that we’ve come a long way from the Chancellor saying he will do “whatever it takes” earlier this year. We’re now having people’s jobs written off as being “unviable” and our musicians and others working in our creative industries are rapidly being thrown under the bus.
“The Prime Minister can say all he like to try and defend what the Chancellor said this week. But the reality is he sent a clear message to the industry: it’s time to retrain and find new opportunities. This world-leading sector didn’t ask for this crisis to envelop them – just as nobody else did. It’s therefore the government’s moral responsibility to step up and act now to save people’s livelihoods.”
In response, Boris Johnson claimed that this was not what the Chancellor had said and Mr Sunak published a partial transcript of his exchange with ITV. The full transcript has since been published by several MPs, including Chris.