The Creative Industries Federation has launched a campaign to ensure that the needs of freelancers in the creative industries are better understood and met.
Creative Freelancers Report
The creative industries have been the fastest growing sector of the UK economy, worth £87.4bn GVA and accounting for 1 in 11 of the UK workforce.
A recent report by the Federation revealed that 47% of workers in the creative industries are freelancers, compared to just 15% of workers across all sectors. Whilst Matthew Taylor’s recent review of modern employment practices looked at what protections the self-employed may require, it didn’t study the particular requirements of the creative sector.
The Federation is concerned that freelancers in creative industries face even greater challenges than those faced by freelancers generally, and that this is poorly understood.
The report focused on practical steps that could be taken to help creative freelancers, both by the Government and the sector itself. These recommendations included:
Piloting ways of providing sustainable social security for freelancers
Providing extra support during transition to Making Tax Digital and quarterly tax returns
Protecting freelancers’ creative workspaces against development
Making self-employment, across all sectors, part of a ministerial brief in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
Supporting an independent UK-wide virtual hub – a business booster network – which would be a one-stop shop for business advice and facilitate peer-to-peer mentoring for creative entrepreneurs
Harriet Finney, Deputy Director of the Creative Industries Federation, said: “The Creative Freelancers report aims to kickstart a proper examination of the creative freelance workforce and encourage government to act to improve the conditions of their working lives. Government needs to better understand what these workers do so that it can consider the implications of any changes to policy.”
Several famous freelance names have spoken about their backing of the initiative, including Samuel West, Stephen Frears, AL Kennedy and Sophie Kinsella.
Actress Imelda Staunton, speaking at an event at the national Theatre, London said: “As an actor, I’ve always been a freelancer – it’s just how the theatre and film industries work. We’re so good at being creative in this country; it’s encouraging to see a report for all of the creative industries that takes the role played by freelancers seriously and suggests ways to address the more difficult aspects of being self-employed.
“The government, with this report, will be able to understand what this profession, what the creative industries, are about and what it needs to be the very best it can be. I hope the government takes this report home and reads it very carefully.”
Some organisations that regularly work with freelancers have lent their support to the campaign too. Lisa Burger, Executive Director of the National Theatre, said: “Freelancers are the lifeblood of our creative output at the NT [and] bring specialist skills to every stage of the production process from development to distribution.
“The freelance ecology allows us to work with the broadest possible range of artists and specialists to make innovative, high-quality work – this way of working is vital to our industry precisely because it supports flexibility, creativity and diversity. The relationship between creative freelancers and creative organisations needs to be supported for the UK’s world leading creative industries to continue to thrive.”
The Government has acknowledged the value of the Creative Industries Federation report. Creative Industries Minister Matt Hancock said it provided “a valuable explanation of the way freelancers work and the huge contribution they make to the UK’s creative industries.”
He added: “The report will make an important contribution to our understanding of the creative industries labour market and we will ensure these recommendations are considered as part of our ongoing work on the Industrial Strategy and early sector deal for the Creative Industries.”
Want to learn more?
Subscribe to our newsletter to get accounting tips like this right to your inbox
About The Author
We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!