The UK's self-employed creative workforce will be "hit hard", according to the Creative Industries Federation, raising concerns the chancellor's measures in response to the coronavirus outbreak "fall short of guaranteeing these workers’ income".
Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined a £350bn package of loans and grants on Tuesday evening (17th March) to help British businesses cope during the coronavirus pandemic, which he recognised is also "an economic emergency".
The Creative Industries Federation said it welcomed the measures announced, which for businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector includes a year-long holiday from paying business rates and, for the very smallest, grants of up to £25,000. But it questionned whether the measures go far enough after a survey it conducted with 2,000 members revealed the majority of respondents expect their income to halve during the outbreak.
Responding to the announcements by the chancellor in relation to Covid-19, Caroline Norbury, c.e.o. of the Creative Industries Federation and Creative England, said: "We welcome positive measures announced today, in response to the issues raised by the creative sector. These include a £330bn loan fund, grants of up to £25,000 for the smallest leisure, hospitality and retail businesses, and the extension of 100% business rate relief to all businesses in these sectors, which includes many creative organisations and cultural spaces. It is now vital that government ensures these business support measures are available as a matter of urgency, and that they are made truly accessible to creative and cultural organisations.
"However, a third of the UK’s creative workforce is self-employed and they will be hit hard. The measures announced on mortgage payments and alleviating hardship are welcome but fall short of guaranteeing these workers’ income – a government measure that is now desperately needed.
"A Creative Industries Federation survey today received over 2,000 responses in a matter of hours from creative industries and creators being affected by Covid-19. Around 54% of the respondents expect income to decrease by over 50% due to the fallout from the pandemic, with many already experiencing immediate losses.
"Our creative industries are one of the UK’s leading success stories. They are vital, not only for our economy, but for our way of life, bringing communities together and joy to millions around the globe. It is vital that our creative businesses are able to survive."