General Election 2019: voting and manifesto asks

A general election has been called for 12 December. Equity isn’t affiliated to any political party but we believe it’s crucial that our members vote and have their voice heard. In the coming weeks we will be calling on all political parties to protect and promote the creative sector and the workers in our industries, particularly in the context of Brexit. You can read our manifesto asks below.

It is essential that you are registered to vote. You can register to vote via this link: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

For those working, or otherwise away from home, ensure that you have a postal vote. Applications for postal votes must be received at least 11 working days before the election (12 working days if you are not already registered to vote). Apply for a postal vote here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-a-postal-vote 

The Electoral Commission website contains important information for student members deciding where to register and cast their vote: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter/students

Manifesto asks

Brexit

  • Ensure that lost EU funding for the creative industries is matched and replaced by UK funds
  • Guarantee continuing freedom of movement for creative workers or create a visa scheme lasting 2 years to enable touring and short term working in the EU27
  • Reform the settled status scheme to accommodate the needs of self employed workers including providing physical evidence for users
  • Work towards transposition of the EU Copyright Directive as a means of ensuring fair returns for creative workers in the digital economy
  • Ensure the maintenance of the Common Travel Area between the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey

Arts Funding

Our Performance for All manifesto can be read in full here: www.equity.org.uk/getting-involved/campaigns/performance-for-all 

Key points are:

  • Raise spending on arts funding as a proportion of GDP from 0.3% to 0.5%
  • Restore lost local authority arts services and make arts funding a statutory duty for local authorities
  • Establish Creative Enterprise Zones in all communities to promote performance and other art forms
  • In England Increase per capita spending outside London, without cutting London based companies
  • In NI, maintain the principle of ‘arm’s length’ funding for the arts
  • Introduce benefits payments that enable artists to sustain careers
  • Fully inclusive representation and equal opportunity for all practitioners and audiences and challenge discrimination against working class practitioners
  • Establish a devolved and autonomous regional funding structure and a model of socially and artistically beneficial provision rather than the current business model with dubious notions of ‘excellence’
  • Recognise Variety, circus and entertainment disciplines as art forms within the public funding system
  • End tuition fees - introduce grants for all students in further and higher education
  • A performance company in every town - with cheap rehearsal, performance spaces
  • Protect and expand public service broadcasting and increase public funding and ownership in the film sector

Film and Television

  • Introduce a new diversity tax break scheme for film and television to complement the existing tax relief schemes, with a view to addressing the under representation of women, disabled people and people from BAME backgrounds on and off screen
  • Support the BFI’s proposal to make diversity data capture a mandatory requirement for receipt of film tax relief
  • Support the continued devolution of TV commissioning and production outside of London including to Scotland and Wales

Education

  • Scrap the Ebacc and other constraints on arts subjects in schools in England
  • Increase arts education and theatre visits at primary and secondary school level across the UK

Employment Rights

  • Ensure that workers’ employment rights, including hard fought for rights to rest and holiday pay, are safeguarded
  • Extend the time limit for Employment Tribunal claims in Equality Act cases to 12 months
  • Bring Section 1 of the Equality Act into force, introducing a duty on public bodies to consider how they can reduce the inequalities of outcome which result from socio-economic disadvantage

Tax and Welfare

  • Scrap the Minimum Income Floor, surplus earnings rules, the 5 week wait, sanctions and the two child limit components of Universal Credit
  • End the use of work capability and disability assessments by private providers – currently 75% of benefit appeals undertaken by Equity advisors are successful, and the private provider assessments are a big part of that

Companies Act

  • Reform the Companies Act to achieve greater accountability on individuals operating in the sector, including the ability to report the setting up of a ghost company by a producer who has previously failed to pay performers following a company failure
  • Reforming theatre tax relief (which touring shows can access) to require that eligible productions/companies must adhere to industry standard terms/contracts laid down by UK Theatre – this includes clauses which enable performers to be given notice and 2 weeks’ wages in the event of a tour collapse