UK’s Creative Industry Federation urges $17.5bn support for freelancers

Caroline Norbury

The UK’s Creative Industry Federation has called on the country’s government to provide £15bn ($17.5bn) in financial aid for freelance workers during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union (BECTU), the UK Screen Alliance and Directors UK are among more than 30 trade organisations to have put their name to an open letter to UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak, asking for a “temporary income protection fund” to provide all self-employed workers with a monthly income matching their average existing earnings over the past three years.

This would be capped at average UK earnings after the basic rate of income tax and with a minimum monthly income of the real living wage.

The letter, which was penned by Creative Industry Federation CEO Caroline Norbury, said that there was now “precedent for this across Europe.”

The plea comes following a BECTU survey last week that found 71% of freelancers working in the creative industries believe they will not be able to pay their bills due to losing work because of the Coronavirus.

Nearly half of all the respondents said they had already lost money due to the pandemic.

Norbury wrote: “Our self-employed workforce are a source of incredible creativity, agility, and innovation. It is vital that they receive support equal to employees and collectively explore, given this difficult time, how such talent could be employed and redeployed to help the national effort.”

Directors UK also made its own direct plea to the government last week, in which it also asked the chancellor to consider income support for freelancers in the creative industries.

The federation’s open letter was signed by:

Association of British Orchestras
Association of Independent Music
Association of Photographers
Audio UK
British Arts Festivals Association
British Association of Picture Libraries & Agencies
British Beauty Council
British Fashion Council
Bristol Media
Crafts Council
Creative United
Culture Counts
Design Council
Directors UK
Featured Artists Coalition
Federation of Scottish Theatres
Guild HE
Guild of Media Arts
Incorporated Society of Musicians
Independent Cinema Office
Music Education Council
Musicians Union
One Dance UK
Professional Publishers Association
Society of British Theatre Designers
SOLT/UK Theatre
Tech London Advocates & Global Tech Advocates
UK Music
UK Screen Alliance
York UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts

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