Niall Horan calls out UK government for its ‘frustrating’ lack of support for the arts
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Pop star Niall Horan made his frustrations with the UK government's lack of attention to the music industry very plain, after he announced a one-off live streamed concert with proceeds going to members of his touring crew.

The show will be streamed from Royal Albert Hall show, the former One Direction star announced on Tuesday, and the singer hopes to sell between 60,000 and 70,000 tickets online for the #WeNeedCrew relief fund – enough to "pay all of my crew".

"I know that, if I hadn’t turned up to my X Factor audition, I would probably be in the same spot as a lot of people. I think about that on a daily basis," the Horan told Metro on Tuesday about his plan.

"I’ve got to know the crew quite a bit. We come from similar backgrounds. Working class families from all over the British Isles. When we don’t tour, they don’t really have another job,” he said.

Horan continued:

Two of the lads touring with me are on building sites, one is at Tesco. It’s very frustrating in an industry that gives so much to the British government… we are not very well looked after.

The singer and his crew were meant to be on the road for six months of this year, which obviously is no longer happening. The pandemic and its consequential economic fallout has left many people working in the live music industry completely stuck without work.

The #WeNeedCrew charity was set up by a former production assistant for One Direction, which Horan told the BBC News illustrates that the once highly lucrative live music industry has now been "completely forgotten by the government".

"And actually their way of dealing with it is to say, 'You need to get another job,' which is madness for me," he said.

A report to be published later this week by the UK's Live Music Group said, "the live business is shrinking four times faster than the rest of the economy", and it predicted the majority of jobs could be gone by the end of this year without any support.

"I felt it was absolutely the least I could do, was stick a gig on," he said. "And I urge all the other artists, including friends of mine, to do the same."

Audiences will not be permitted into the venue on November 7, and the show will not be available to watch afterwards.

The UK government has been consistently criticised when it comes to funding for the arts, especially during the pandemic. While Horan’s benefit concert is a strong gesture and an important reminder of the people financially struggling behind the scenes, it should not be up to only workers to organise for some economic relief.

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