Equity calls on Government to explain how rescue package will help creative workforce

Christine Payne, Equity General Secretary and Paul W Fleming, Equity General Secretary Elect, have written to the Chancellor and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to demand clarification on how the arts rescue package will meet Equity's four pillar plan for recovery, and support the creative workforce directly. Join Equity in our call for support for creative workers and write to your MP with the letter at the end of this article, also downloadable as a Word document here. The best way to contact MPs at the moment is via Twitter and email. Find your MP's contact details at https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-your-mp/

Dear Chancellor and Secretary of State,

The creative sector cannot recover without investment in both workplaces and workers. Equity’s 48,000 members campaigned for, and welcomed, the Government’s rescue package for the arts but it is becoming increasingly clear that the £1.57bn promised will not directly help them. Redundancy consultations and demands for pay cuts and reductions to terms and conditions are continuing at many arts organisations all over the country even among those hoping to receive funding from the rescue package.

Re-opening theatres, film and television sets and venues is not enough. The reality of the phased return of performances and in the months ahead is that work opportunities will remain severely limited for tens of thousands of self-employed creatives including actors, singers, dancers, directors, designers, comedians, choreographers, stage management and many more live entertainment workers. 

Government and the industry need to protect and preserve the livelihoods of thousands of people whose skills and talents are the basis of our success, and especially freelance and self-employed creatives who are at the greatest risk of being left behind.

Without investment, the first to leave the sector are likely to be our black, older, working class, D/deaf and disabled and women workers, further worsening the diversity of the industry.

A successful, sustainable and fair return to work across the creative industries can only happen with action to address Equity’s four pillar plan:

  1. Workforce Protection – ensuring that all creative workers, including permanent, freelance and self-employed receive direct financial support in the tough months ahead. The end of the SEISS in August and JRS in October are a significant cliff edge for many creative workers. On top of this up to 40% of our members are already in extreme hardship due to being excluded from both schemes.
  2. Safe Opening – including ticketing subsidies, investment in digital content which pays creatives fairly and underwriting the insurance risk of television and film productions.
  3. Protecting Infrastructure – the £1.57bn in funding for the arts announced by the Government must recognise the breadth of the sector and not just the elite or mainstream arts. Comedy clubs, live entertainment venues, commercial tours, fringe and independent theatre are all crucial elements of the arts infrastructure.
  4. Equality – no one should be left behind in the recovery and additional funding made available to institutions must be attached to clear organisation-specific commitments to eliminate gaps in representation and pay.

We call on you as Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to explain how the arts rescue package will meet the four pillar plan for recovery.

If does not, we demand that you take action to ensure that creative workers who are the foundation of the success of the UK’s arts industries, will not be left behind.

Yours sincerely,

Christine Payne
General Secretary, Equity

Paul Fleming
General Secretary Elect, Equity

 

Letter for members:

Dear (your MP)

I am a constituent and a member of the trade union Equity. I work mainly as an actor/stage manager/director/dancer/comedian/entertainer etc.

The creative sector cannot recover without investment in both workplaces and workers. Equity’s 48,000 members campaigned for, and welcomed, the Government’s rescue package for the arts but it is becoming increasingly clear that the £1.57bn promised will not directly help them. Redundancy consultations and demands for pay cuts and reductions to terms and conditions are continuing at many arts organisations all over the country even among those hoping to receive funding from the rescue package.

Re-opening theatres, film and television sets and venues is not enough. The reality of the phased return of performances and in the months ahead is that work opportunities will remain severely limited for tens of thousands of self-employed creatives including actors, singers, dancers, directors, designers, comedians, choreographers, stage management and many more live entertainment workers. 

Government and the industry need to protect and preserve the livelihoods of thousands of people whose skills and talents are the basis of our success, and especially freelance and self-employed creatives who are at the greatest risk of being left behind.

Without investment, the first to leave the sector are likely to be our black, older, working class, D/deaf and disabled and women workers, further worsening the diversity of the industry.

A successful, sustainable and fair return to work across the creative industries can only happen with action to address Equity’s four pillar plan:

  1. Workforce Protection – ensuring that all creative workers, including permanent, freelance and self-employed receive direct financial support in the tough months ahead. The end of the SEISS in August and JRS in October are a significant cliff edge for many creative workers. On top of this up to 40% of our members are already in extreme hardship due to being excluded from both schemes.
  2. Safe Opening – including ticketing subsidies, investment in digital content which pays creatives fairly and underwriting the insurance risk of television and film productions.
  3. Protecting Infrastructure – the £1.57bn in funding for the arts announced by the Government must recognise the breadth of the sector and not just the elite or mainstream arts. Comedy clubs, live entertainment venues, commercial tours, fringe and independent theatre are all crucial elements of the arts infrastructure.
  4. Equality – no one should be left behind in the recovery and additional funding made available to institutions must be attached to clear organisation-specific commitments to eliminate gaps in representation and pay.

As my MP I ask you to support Equity’s four pillar plan for recovery and to call on the Chancellor and Secretary of State for DCMS to ensure that creative workers who are the foundation of the success of the UK’s arts industries, will not be left behind in the recovery.

With best wishes

Your NAME

Your ADDRESS – to identify you as a constituent