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Pop Eye

June 28, 1998|Dave Jennings, from London

ROCKFARE: Such rock elite as the Rolling Stones may have taken a hit with recent changes to the tax laws in the U.K., but aspiring rock stars have just gotten a break from the government, thanks largely to Creation Records founder Alan McGee's role as an advisor to Prime Minister Tony Blair.

McGee and Creation communications director Andy Saunders successfully campaigned for an exemption for young musicians in a new welfare-to-work law that will cut off benefits for unemployed people who after six months don't accept work placement, volunteer duties or training. Under the new plan, musicians between 18 and 24 will be eligible for government support as long as they can demonstrate that they are actively pursuing a career in music.

"It's a great, great victory," McGee told music weekly Melody Maker. "I've breached the establishment. I've got inside and they've got to listen to me. I'm like a gremlin in the system. It feels good."

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