Solutions to help the self-employed

Creative Industries Federation urges chancellor to implement temporary income protection fund for self-employed workers

APPEAL: Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer is being urged to stand by the UK’s highly valuable self-employed workforce

THE CEO of the Creative Industries Federation and Creative England has reiterated the urgent need for government to recognise the self-employed stating it was ‘vital that they receive support equal to employees.’

Last weekend The Creative Industries Federation, joined over 30 trade and membership bodies to write to The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, urging the government to stand by the UK’s highly valuable self-employed workforce, in the same way they have the UK’s employed workforce, and urgently consider their proposal to help make this a reality.

The package of support for employers and employees announced on March 20 was unprecedented and welcome, says The Federation, which represents all creative workers in the UK. However, it creates a worrying inequity between those who now have their income secured and the UK’s five million self-employed workers who are left despondent. Whilst employees are entitled to claim 80 per cent of their monthly salary up to £2,500, by contrast self-employed workers are eligible for  just £408 per month of government support via Universal Credit.*

A recent survey by the Creative Industries Federation revealed that 60 per cent of creative freelancers predict their income will more than halve in 2020, and over 50 per cent of freelancers who responded to our snap poll have already had 100 per cent of their work cancelled. To support the self-employed both now and through the coming months, an emergency fund is urgently needed that gives a time-limited and carefully targeted cash grant to the self-employed workers and freelancers that need it most. 

The Creative Industries Federation, in partnership with IPSE – the representative body for the UK’s self-employed community – last week launched an open petition calling on the government to take urgent action and create a Temporary Income Protection Fund, which has gained over 87,000 signatures during the first 72 hours.

The proposal asks the government to create a Temporary Income Protection Fund to provide all self-employed workers with a monthly income matching their average existing earnings over the past three years, capped at average UK earnings after the basic rate of income tax and with a minimum monthly income of the Real Living Wage. There is now precedent for this across Europe.

Such support should be based on average existing earnings of the individual in order to ensure that they can minimise disruption to their lives and meet existing costs and obligations.

  • The minimum monthly income to be the Real Living Wage after the basic rate of income tax (£1100 a month approx.)
  • The maximum monthly income to be average UK earnings after the basic rate of income tax (£1800 a month approx.)

Caroline Norbury, CEO of the Creative Industries Federation and Creative England, said: “A third of the UK’s creative workforce are self-employed. Our self-employed workforce are a source of incredible creativity, agility, and innovation. It is vital that they receive support equal to employees and collectively explore, given this difficult time, how such talent could be employed and redeployed to help the national effort.”

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