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Creative industries join forces to call for freelancer help

Creative industries join forces to call for freelancer help
Staff Reporter
23 March 2020

The Creative Industries Federation has pulled together 40 trade bodies and unions from across the creative industries to call on the chancellor for financial help for freelancers during the coronavirus outbreak.


The government has already announced measures to help companies and employees to stay afloat during the crisis but little help has been offered so far for the UK’s five million self employed. A third of the UK’s creative industry workers are freelance compared to a national average of around 15%.


Bectu, Directors UK and UK Screen Alliance have joined forces with others across the creative industries to endorse an open letter to the chancellor from Creative Industries Federation and Creative England chief exec, Caroline Norbury.


Here’s the letter


The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP
Chancellor of the Exchequer
HM Treasury 
1 Horse Guards Road


Dear Chancellor,


We are writing as a collective group of organisations to ask that you stand by our highly valuable self-employed workforce, and urgently consider our proposal to help make this a reality.


Your package of support for employers and employees was unprecedented and welcome. However, it creates a worrying inequity between those who now have their income secured and the UK’s five million self-employed workers who are left despondent.


A third of the UK’s creative workforce are self-employed - higher than the national average of 15%. Our recent survey revealed that 60% of creative freelancers predict their income will more than halve in 2020, and over 50% of freelancers who responded to our snap poll have already had 100% of their work cancelled.


We have been working with IPSE - the representative body for the UK’s self-employed community - and over 40 trade and membership bodies and unions from across the creative industries to develop a solution, and would welcome the opportunity to constructively discuss this proposal, and other practical ideas, with you and your team as soon as possible. 


We propose that the government creates a Temporary Income Protection Fund of £15bn to provide all self-employed workers with a monthly income matching their average existing earnings over the past three years, capped at average UK earnings after the basic rate of income tax and with a minimum monthly income of the Real Living Wage. There is now precedent for this across Europe.


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.


Yours sincerely,


Caroline Norbury

Chief Executive
Creative Industries Federation and Creative England


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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