Unions demand commitment and action from Government to support creative industries and its workers

30 October 2020

The SoA has joined other leading creative membership organisations and trade unions to call on the Chancellor to fix the flawed programme of support for self employed workers, and to protect our world leading creative industries.

Speaking on behalf of almost 350,000 creative professionals the Creators’ Rights Alliance (CRA) and its members have written to Rishi Sunak to demand tailored support for hard-hit creators and to ensure the safe reopening of indoor venues supporting creators safely back to work.

Creators continue to face real hardship as a result of the pandemic. Practically overnight they saw an end to live performances and a significant reduction in commissions, leaving many creators with a considerable reduction or complete suspension of income.

Creators who rely on live performers such as performers, playwrights, composers, journalists, photographers, illustrators and technical operators have seen a freeze in commissions covering sporting, cultural, musical and theatrical events.

Over 20% of all self-employed people in the UK work in the cultural and creative industries. The letter highlights the difficulties facing self-employed creators particularly with the shortcomings in the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and its strict eligibility criteria which has left many without any form of support for months.

In a letter the CRA and its members are calling for:

  • Parity between employees and the self-employed by increasing the existing level of support provided by the SEISS and expanding the eligibility criteria
  • The government to extend the suspension of the Minimum Income Floor of Universal Credit (UC) until the creative sector is able to open fully
  • The government to offer sector specific support, not just for cultural and creative institutions but for the workers who sustain the creative industries
  • The implementation of a new scheme to facilitate the reopening of venues and theatres under social distancing to get live performers safely back to work, providing a much-needed lifeline for the arts sector

As the UK enters the second wave of COVID-19 restrictions there are serious concerns amongst our members about the long-term impact on the creative industries and on creators, particularly regarding the future viability of our world-leading creative industries.

The chaos caused by the pandemic has left creators without vital income and in real hardship. Too many are falling through the gaps and we have heard first-hand from our members who have not only lost out on income but have been unable to claim any form of support.

There is still time, the government must now ensure that these talented and passionate workers finally receive much needed financial support by addressing the shortcomings in the SEISS and UC to safeguard one of the fastest growing and highly skilled sectors of the UK’s economy.