Directors UK CEO Andy Harrower has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak ahead of next week’s Spring Budget, calling for more support for the creative industries. You can read the full letter below.
In advance of the forthcoming Spring Budget, Directors UK urges you to act on the recommendations outlined in submissions from the Creative Industries Federation and the Creators’ Rights Alliance, to provide robust economic support to the creative industries.
The creative sector is key to the UK’s economic recovery. Prior to the pandemic it was growing at four times the rate of the economy, contributing £116bn in GVA in 2019 – more than aerospace, automotive, life sciences and the oil and gas sectors combined.
With the right support, the creative sector will bring the innovation, growth and job creation needed to aid the UK’s economic revival.
However, COVID-19 has significantly impacted – and continues to impact – the creative industries, including TV and film. It has also exposed the fragilities within the sector, which relies heavily on its creative workforce, many of whom are employed on short-term, freelance and self-employed contracts. Some have been unable to access any form of government support such as Universal Credit, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) or the Job Retention Scheme (JRS). Many have had to survive on savings or loans, or are leaving the sector altogether.
While the “roadmap out of lockdown” brings new hope for recovery, there is still uncertainty over the long-term impact on the sector and its workforce. As such, the following recommendations are vitally important to Directors UK members to ensure the sector’s future success:
- Extend the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS) beyond April 2021.
- Expand the strict eligibility criteria of the SEISS to address the support needs of those who have been left out, including the newly self-employed, directors of small Ltd companies, those affected by the 50% rule and the £50k cliff-edge, and PAYE freelancers.
- Ensure parity of support between employees and the self-employed, and maintain the fourth grant at the same level as the JRS.
- Maintain the £20 per week Universal Credit uplift and extend the removal of the Minimum Income Floor.
- Maintain and, where appropriate, extend Creative Industries Tax Reliefs.
- Secure greater fairness in benefits and social security for self-employed workers.
- Remove the perceived barriers to applying for R&D tax reliefs; and broaden the definition of R&D to realise the huge potential for innovation that exists in the creative industries.
- Seek a solution with the EU regarding Short Term Business Visitors, so that those in the creative industry workforce who rely on travel across Europe can do so without additional costly barriers.
- Establish a Creators Council to improve engagement with the freelance creative workforce and help tackle unfair practices in the creative industries.
- Establish a Future Workforce Commission to ensure the UK champions entrepreneurialism across government and industry.
The UK’s creative industries are world leading, and with the right support from the Government they will continue to bring economic, employment and cultural gains to the UK and beyond.
CEO, Directors UK