UK broadcasters & Pact call for freelance support

Nicky Morgan

UK broadcasters and producers have called on the culture secretary to ensure that TV industry freelancers will qualify for financial support during the Coronavirus crisis.

The government announced a package of support last week, but leading industry figures still have concerns that a swathe of those employed in the TV sector will not be covered.

In a joint letter, the BBC, ITV, Sky, Channel 4, Viacom and Pact, wrote to Nicky Morgan, the UK’s secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, to highlight the risk that freelancers paid through the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) tax system may fall “unintentionally fall through the cracks” of those financial schemes set up to support them.

The letter adds that because of the lack of information held by any one organisation “only the government is realistically able to help this group,” and proposes an amendment to the self-employed assistance scheme, which the broadcasters believe would resolve the issue without the need for the creation of a new scheme.

The letter was signed by BBC director-general Tony Hall, ITV CEO Carolyn McCall, Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon, Sky UK and Europe CEO Stephen Van Rooyen, Viacom CBS UK president Maria Kyriacou and Pact CEO John McVay .

They added: “Our teams stand ready to deliver what assistance we can to help this important group of workers in our world leading creative economy.”

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