09 June 2020
Join us in calling for greater provision by sending this letter to your MP. You can download a Word document of the letter 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 (YOUR MP)
Please help the creative industries workforce
I am a performer/stage manager/director/designer/dancer etc and a member of the trade union Equity which represents over 48,000 creative professionals working across the entertainment industries.
The situation faced by workers in the creative industries is desperate. Our workplaces – especially those in the live performance sector including theatres and other entertainment venues - will be among the last places to re-open and even then the demands of social distancing will have a profound impact on their financial viability. The creative industries provide much more than enjoyment and entertainment. They are worth nearly £112bn to the economy and the arts and culture sector alone contributes £2.8billion a year to the Treasury via taxation.
For those creative workers who are able eligible for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) or the Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the extension of these schemes is crucial. The CJRS will be closed in October and the SEISS is due to end in August, many months before creative workers can hope to be back in regular employment. As a result, mass redundancies and unemployment are expected.
Too many creative workers are also currently excluded from the Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Performers and other creative practitioners like me earn on average £10k a year and do not fit within the Chancellor's characterisation of those left out of the SEISS. It is claimed that those who are excluded represent just 5% of the self-employed workforce, earning on average £200k – this is very clearly not the experience of the more than 40% of Equity members who have not been able get support so far.
My situation is as follows:
Explain why you have fallen through the gaps in eligibility for SEISS or JRS
As a performer receiving JRS I am terrified that the Scheme will end in October and my workplace remain unopened for some significant time causing me to lose my job
As a performer receiving the SEISS I am terrified that when the grant support ends in August I will struggle to manage due to my work having been cancelled or suspended
Explain how your work has been affected by COVID 19
We urgently need your help in order to ensure that creative workers can survive this crisis and I would ask you to write to the Chancellor to call for the following:
- A further extension of the CJRS and SEISS for the creative sector
- A hardship grant scheme for creative workers who have not been eligible for support through CJRS or SEISS.
- A rescue package for the industry including changes to creative tax reliefs and a modest increase in funding for the sector to 0.5% of GDP
Thank you for your help.
With best wishes
Your Address – to identify you as a constituent