TV and film trade union, Bectu, has co-signed a letter organised by Excluded UK, urging the Chancellor to extend the government support schemes and close the gaps that are excluding thousands of freelancers in the creative industries.

Bectu is particularly concerned that a failure to extend the schemes with sufficient notice will see a repeat of Autumn 2020, when theatre and venues redundancy figures shot up due to a belief that the schemes were drawing to a close.

Bectu’s own redundancy figures indicated that by 14 October 2020, at least 7,442 workers in theatres, venues and cinemas had been made redundant.

Speaking ahead of the Budget, Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said: “The Chancellor must use the Budget to extend the furlough scheme and the SEISS, and to finally end the disgraceful exclusion of so many freelancers. As it stands, the schemes are due to end before theatres, venues and cinemas will be able to reopen, potentially leaving thousands of workers in the lurch.

“The arts won’t reopen overnight, and it would be ridiculous to switch off the critical life support just as there is finally light at the end of the tunnel for thousands in the industry.”

Jon Creamer