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Yorkshire Ridings Branch Newsletter Oct '13

2 October 2013


Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Please come to the Equity Yorkshire Ridings General Branch



Saturday 12 October, 1pm

Friargate Theatre

Lower Friargate (off Clifford Street), York, YO1 9SL


Liam Evans – Ford, producer on both York Mystery Plays 2012 and Blood + Chocolate, will be speaking about “Professional Theatre with the Community”. Liam will discuss both the strength of professionally delivered community productions that are now happening across the UK as well as the pitfalls the profession needs to consider when mounting such work.

We will also be presenting the new Equity Yorkshire Area Banner that the Branch has commissioned to the AGM.

The outgoing committee will report on the Branch’s activities over the last year and we would like to hear your ideas for the future. A copy of the AGM Agenda is set out below in this Newsletter.

Transport / parking: Friargate Theatre is located in York City Centre less than ¾ mile from York Railway Station. The nearest car parks are located in Tower Street and Piccadilly.


Equity Yorkshire Area

We are celebrating that after several months of fund raising, your Branch has now purchased a new Equity Trades Union Banner for the Yorkshire Area. Thank you to everyone who has contributed both financially and in kind.

The banner was taken to both the Universal Credit Seminars in Leeds and Sheffield and the Branch Committee also decided that the Banner should be carried at the TUC's recent SAVE OUR NHS, Defend Jobs and Services, No to Austerity demonstration in Manchester. Members will have the chance to see the new banner when it is presented to the AGM on Saturday 12 October – please come. The banner will also be available for the three Yorkshire Variety Branches to use and will be displayed at future meetings of all the other Yorkshire branches. When not in use, the Banner will be kept at the North East Regional Office in Sheffield.

Equity’s North East Region has now published a leaflet featuring all four Yorkshire Area Branches and this was circulated to members attending the recent Universal Credit Seminars in Leeds and Sheffield. We believe that this leaflet will be invaluable in promoting all Yorkshire Branches to our members. A copy of the leaflet can be downloaded from Please share this leaflet with other members you know and with others you work with in the profession.   


Thank you to Morrish Solicitors LLP and Unity Trust Bank for sponsorship

Equity Yorkshire Ridings General Branch wishes to thank Unity Trust Bank and Morrish Solicitors for their sponsorship of the new Equity Yorkshire Area Trades Union Banner. Thank you also to Humberside Variety and South Yorkshire Variety Branches for their donations and to Amy Wass for her work on the Banner design.


Help with Your Rights

As we reported in last month’s Newsletter many welfare benefits claimed by Equity members are being abolished in the government's welfare reforms. Universal Credit will be introduced gradually over three years starting in October 2013. It will replace most income-based benefits including Jobseeker's Allowance, Housing Benefit, income-related Employment Support Allowance, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. National Insurance Contribution-based benefits such as contribution-based JSA and contributory Employment Support Allowance will remain.

The government will assume that people who are assessed as being “gainfully self-employed” will have a certain level of earnings called the “Minimum Income Floor”. This equates to the National Minimum Wage x 35 hours per week. The assumed level of earnings for self-employed claimants will therefore be £11,265 per annum (as of September 2013), whether they receive this level of income or not.

Claimants who are deemed not to be “gainfully self-employed” will find themselves subject to strict conditions which could involve spending 35 hours per week in work search activities although they should be given a period at the beginning of their claim to look for work in their usual occupation. It is important to note that Universal Credit comes as a package so that people cannot claim for help with housing costs only as they can now through Housing Benefit.

Equity has been running seminars around the Country about these changes and a number of Branch members came to the recent seminars in Leeds and Sheffield. The Union’s Welfare Rights team, Max Beckmann and Alan Lean, have met with the Department of Work and Pensions on a number of occasions to discuss how these changes will affect Equity members and to lobby for sector-specific guidance for decision makers. The team will be monitoring how the “gainfully self-employed” rule is operated and how the conditionality regime is applied but there are indications that in the first few years at least, the government will adopt a “light touch” and show some flexibility in the application of the rules.

A reminder that Equity operates an Advice and Rights Helpline on 020 7670 0223 on Mondays and Thursdays between 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 5pm. Advice given covers tax, national insurance, welfare benefits, tax credits and other related areas. Alternatively, members can e-mail for help.

Thanks to Alan Lean for the Rights information in this article.


Anthem for Equity

Folk Performer and Branch member Tony Morris has recorded an Anthem for Equity. Tony has given our Branch 12 CDs of the Anthem for fund raising purposes. He suggests a minimum donation of £3 for each CD. Alternatively you may be able to win one in one of our raffles. Thank you Tony.


Can You Spare a Raffle Prize?

Your Equity Branch holds a raffle to raise money for branch funds at each meeting and we need prizes! Can you donate a prize for a future raffle? It would be a good opportunity to recycle something you no longer want for a good cause! If you can spare a raffle prize, please bring it to any Branch meeting.


Annual General Meeting 2013 Agenda:


Equity Yorkshire Ridings General Branch


Agenda for Yorkshire Ridings Branch Meetings 12 October 2013, starting 1pm


Branch Meeting (30 mins)


1.   Apologies for absence

2.   Minutes of Meetings held 24.11.12, 12.2.13 and 12.6.13 and Notes of Inquorate Meetings held 9.3.13, 9.4.13, 13.7.13 and Matters Arising. Copies of these can be downloaded from


Annual General Meeting (items 1 – 5: 30 mins; items 6 – 10: 60 mins)


1.   Minutes of 2011 and 2012 Annual General Meetings

2.   Annual Report

3.   Presentation of Equity Yorkshire Area Banner

4.   Treasurer’s Report

5.   Regional Organiser’s Report


10 min break, please come back for the rest of the Agenda.


6.   Speaker: Liam Evans Ford, Pilot Theatre

7.   Motions deferred from the last Branch Meeting:

                     - Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign

                     - Storytellers and Stage Committee elections

      Copies of both motions can be downloaded from

8.   Election of Branch Committee 2013-14

9.   Members’ concerns and proposals for future Branch activities

10. Any Other Business


Dates for Future Branch Meetings:

Saturday 12 October Annual General Meeting, 1pm, at Friargate Theatre, Lower Friargate, York, YO1 9SL.                

November - What Should Equity be doing for Walk-Ons? date, speakers and venue to be confirmed.

December - Seasonal Social - to be arranged. Does anyone know a Leeds City Centre venue that won’t charge too much for a late afternoon to mid-evening social?


Branch Resources:

The Standard Agenda for Branch Meetings can be read at A copy of the Standard Agenda can be downloaded at

To download the minutes of past Branch Meetings, go to and click on Documents. Minutes of Branch Meetings since Nov 2012 are now available. You will need to log in to the Equity Web site with your membership number and your password before the Minutes can be downloaded. Notes of the July 2013 meeting are now available.


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A Large Print version of this Newsletter can be downloaded from the Branch Web Site

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