Call for clarity on Chancellor’s freelance deal

The Chancellor’s move yesterday to help the self-employed and freelance – a third of whom make up the creative industries’ workforce - has been welcomed in the arts sector, but with demands for further clarity on how it will work and its timing.

Rishi Sunak announced that the government would match its response to payroll workers’ plight by paying 80% of projected income for self-employed workers - but this may not come into effect until June because of the complexities of callibrating payments of almost four million. The scheme is for those earning less than £50,00 a year, 95% of self-employed .

Ninety per cent of Musicians Union (MU) members are self-employed, and are facing a 71% drop in work opportunities since the coronavirus effects struck.

MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge (pictured) said the measures were vital.  “We understand that implementing this system will be complex, but we now urge the government to work to get it in place as quickly as possible.

“Many members are struggling with financial hardship right now and to try and alleviate immediate strain the MU has set up a hardship fund. Members in genuine financial hardship can apply for the MU Coronavirus Hardship Fund for £200 to tide them over until government support is available. We do, however, have limited resources so the fact that the government’s financial assistance will be backdated to 1 March 2020 will be a real lifesaver for so many musicians.”

Creative Industries Federation CEO Caroline Norbury also applauded the  measures. "It is welcome that the voice of the creative sector has been heard and government is going to stand by the majority of the UK’s self-employed and freelance workers, as called for in our open letter to the Chancellor this week.

“We now must ensure that this package is comprehensive and interim relief is immediately accessible” she said. “We are seeking urgent clarity for those creative workers who may be most in need and fall between these schemes including those who commenced self-employment after April 2019, recent graduates, those paid in dividends, temporary workers and those short term contractors normally paid by PAYE. We must ensure that these packages are truly comprehensive and accessible to all."


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