UK broadcasters join call for freelance support from government

The UK’s public service broadcasters (PSB) have added their voices to the cries of support for freelancers working in the broadcasting industry who are facing a sudden lack of income due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

In a joint letter to UK chancellor Rishi Sunak, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and S4C highlighted the value of freelancers to the UK’s creative industries and asked for a “package of support”.

The letter is signed by BBC director-general Tony Hall, ITV CEO Carolyn McCall, Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon, S4C CEO Owen Jones and Maria Kyriacou, president, UK and Australia, ViacomCBS Networks International, which owns Channel 5.

The PSB’s highlighted the £100bn ($117bn) that the creative industries contribute to the UK economy and how 50% of those engaged in screen production are freelancers with no “single anchor employer” and thus “particularly vulnerable in current circumstances and therefore worthy of government support.”

They wrote that they are “willing to engage with the government to help [to] identify a package of measures that would provide for a level of income protection and access to statutory sick pay for the freelance community in our industry as a matter of urgency.”

The call follows a similar appeal made by the UK’s Creative Industry Federation earlier this week, which seeks £15bn ($17.5bn) in financial aid.

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