Bectu backs further pressure on Treasury to extend support to creative freelancers

29 May 2020

Two Bectu backed letters highlighting the need for continued income support for creative freelancers have been sent to the Chancellor.

Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy wrote to the Chancellor warning that thousands face “extreme hardship” if government support is withdrawn too early.

He urged the government to take immediate steps to avoid disaster and support the workers who are already facing an “extremely perilous situation”.

Actions the Chancellor is being asked to take include:

– Extending the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) alongside the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

– Fixing the gaps in the schemes, including for directors of limited companies and PAYE freelancers

– Introducing flexibility to the CJRS so that employers who are unable to make a contribution are not forced to lay off staff.

As well as the letter from Bectu’s parent union, Philippa Childs was also signatory to a joint letter from the Creative Industries Federation, Equity and IPSE also urging the Rishi Sunak to extend the SEISS.

Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said: “Wherever we can we are supporting calls for the gaps in the income support schemes to be closed up. So many of our members are still waiting for assistance and have no idea when they will be able to get back to work again.

“We know there is real political will to ensure that freelancers who have, so far, not been covered by the support schemes receive support. There are still uncertain times ahead as we emerge from the lockdown and the potential for people to have to stop work suddenly again.

“People who have already been excluded need to know that they won’t be in the future and the government has recognised the predicament they find themselves in. There are a number of solutions that we have put forward to the Treasury to ensure that no creative is left behind and freelancers can access government support. The Chancellor must act now and adopt these solutions.”