One Year On

The impact of the pandemic on the creative industries

This week marks one year on from the pandemic that continues to have an unprecedented impact on our society and, particularly, on our creative industries.

Survey into the impact of the pandemic

Our survey of nearly 4000 respondents revealed the devastating impact the pandemic has had one year on. Those completing the survey work in the film and TV industries, broadcasting, live events, cinemas, and cultural venues (including theatres).

Across all 3,957 respondents, key findings included:

  • 34% are not currently working, either in the creative industries or another industry
  • 30% have been made redundant or laid off at least once since March 2020
  • 36% have received payments from the furlough scheme (CJRS)
  • 20% have received payments from the SEISS
  • 21% of those who needed support have not been able to access the SEISS or CJRS
  • 77% have seen a drop in income (including income from the SEISS and CJRS)

ITV London broadcast a special report on the impact of the pandemic on London’s theatres and events industries, including figures from our report. Of the 1,026 London-based respondents working in theatres, venues and live events, we found that:

  • 53% are not currently working, either in the creative industries or another industry
  • 20% have been unable to access either of the support schemes
  • 54% have lost over half their income (including income from the SEISS of CJRS)
  • 27% have received payments from the SEISS

A safe and successful reopening

We briefed MP’s on the results of our survey into the impact of the pandemic on the creative industries. Our findings highlight the devastating individual and collective impact that Covid-19 continues to have on the creative industries across the UK. We need to ensure one year on that all workers in the creative industries get the support they need to ensure a safe and successful reopening of all our cultural industries.

Bectu is asking the Government to consider the following measures:

  • Supporting workers until the industry fully reopens: Normal production will take time to resume and it is critical that a cliff edge in support is avoided. The SEISS should be extended in full for at least as long as CJRS, after which the government should consider sector specific extensions for the worst hit industries and a tapered withdrawal of support. Otherwise, there is a risk that support is withdrawn before the sector reopens, leaving thousands more at risk of redundancy.
  • Government backed insurances for theatres and live events: The Film and TV Production Restart Scheme has been a great success. Theatres, venues and live events require this same backing to minimise the risks of restarting and get back to entertaining millions.
  • Support our touring professionals: The new EU trade deal has no agreement on work permits or carnet applications, making it all but impossible for our world leading touring professionals to work across the EU. Live events and theatres have already been amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic. Their recoveries will be seriously inhibited if the government does not negotiate a free cultural EU work permit and carnet exception for UK touring professionals.
  • Culture Recovery Fund: It is disappointing that only half the CRF money has been allocated, particularly considering the 21% of workers who have been unsupported. In the absence of changes to the SEISS, this unspent money could be ring-fenced for those excluded workers.
  • Incentivising demand: Social distancing measures will require many venues to operate at a 50% capacity limit when they re-open, which will simply not be financially viable. Even post June 21st, fear of the virus following over a year of social distancing may mean that audiences are slower to return than anticipated. The Government should consider a Seat Out to Help Out scheme to subsidise spaces in our cultural venues and ensure that venues don’t lose money by reopening.

Read our One Year On nationwide briefing to MP’s               

Read our One Year On briefing to all London MP’s