Bectu welcomes Creative UK manifesto calling for ‘radical new action’ in the creative industries

24 April 2024

Creative UK has today launched its UK General Election manifesto, setting out how, with the right investment, the Cultural and Creative Industries can generate social and economic prosperity across the country.

It calls for ‘radical new action’ to respond to key issues facing the sector, such as removing barriers to access and introducing new funding models, and was formed using insights from leading organisations across the creative industries, including Bectu.

Prioritising creative skills and education, strengthening protections for freelancers, and increasing investment in research and development funding are among the key aims laid out in the manifesto, ahead of a general election.

Bectu has long made clear that the creative workforce is critical to the sector’s success, and welcomes the manifesto as an important document to push for progress in securing a better deal for all creative workers.

You can read more on Creative UK’s website and download the full manifesto here.

Commenting on the manifesto, Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said:

“We hear a lot from politicians about the incredible value – social, cultural and economical – of the UK’s creative industries, yet too often the workers behind this success are an afterthought. Freelancers have consistently fallen through the gaps of government support schemes – we saw this no more clearly and devastatingly than during the pandemic.

“Government interventions and policies often rightly focus on meeting the needs of creative businesses, but alongside this a future government must better scrutinise the needs of the freelance workforce as a critical part of the interdependent ecosystem of the creative industries. Appointing a Freelancing Commissioner who will work with unions to advocate for freelancers, would be a welcome move.

“Freelancing brings untold benefits, to our cultural and creative output and to the economy, but the current model puts all of the burdens on the worker. Many creative freelancers continue to battle unsustainable working hours, precarious employment and associated challenges, and many are leaving the sector, burnt out, feeling unsupported, and unable to sustain a career in the industry they love.

“Creative workers are also being curtailed by restrictions on their movements; to fully unleash the potential of UK creative skills and ensure the UK is a destination for skilled workers from all over the world, a future government must work with industry and unions to address these challenges.

“If we can better look after and advocate for the freelance workforce, the potential knock-on benefits for the creative industries and our economy are huge – improving workers’ lives through provisions such as better access to flexible working or parental leave, and helping retain skilled workers.

“Ultimately, you cannot have a thriving creative sector without a thriving workforce. We heartily endorse a new approach to freelancing that better supports creative workers to enter, develop and sustain careers in the sector, and we welcome Creative UK’s collaborative work in bringing the sector together to agree these shared manifesto aims.”