A petition has been launched by TV workers in response to Jeremy Hunt’s comments about the industry in yesterday’s budget announcement.

The petition objects to Hunt’s comments that ‘We have become Europe’s largest film and TV production centre, at the current rate of expansion, we will be second only to Hollywood globally by the end for 2025’.

The petition, so far signed by 1800 people, says that in the face of widespread commissioning cutbacks, with many TV production professionals out of work, “this is a lie.”

“2023 and 2024 has witnessed the worst time for the UK television industry in recent history. Due to a variety of factors; advertising revenue down, a severe commissioning slow down, the cost of living crisis, the US strikes, networks running out of money and keeping programmes ‘on the shelf’ to inflate their assets…, the industry is on its knees with thousands of TV workers, at all levels, unable to secure work over the past 12 months and still out of work today. There is a mass brain drain taking place with TV workers unable to ‘survive until 2025’ and therefore leaving the industry in their droves to seek stable employment elsewhere, simply to feed their families. A recent BECTU survey found that up to 75% of TV workers were out of work… Plus, many production companies, including former powerhouse RDF Television, are being forced to close down due to the lack of commissions now and in the foreseeable future.

“Does this sound like ‘Europe’s largest film and TV production centre’ to you?

“He lied to parliament and on top of that every UK TV viewer… This is and will continue to directly impact what YOU see on telly. We’re already seeing more and more repeats and less original programming, which is only going to get worse.

“We implore the government, the Chancellor and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to address this crisis, acknowledge that the industry is in the middle of a major reset, and to work with the freelance community, Production Companies and Networks to find ways to tackle this crisis together (through bursary schemes, support, acknowledgement, possible new commissioning models and discussing learnings from other European countries) and save this once world-leading industry before it’s too late. Thank you.”

Link to the petition – https://chng.it/kmKYKWDFnZ

Jon Creamer

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