Union Bectu, which represents more than 40,000 staff, contract and freelance workers in the media and entertainment industries, has called on the Government to do more to protect the income of freelancers who are “seeing their livelihoods disappearing due to the impact of coronavirus”.
“These freelancers, represented by Bectu, a sector of Prospect, continue to fall through the safety net despite measures announced in the Budget,” the union said in a statement.
“Bectu is calling for the government to re-think its approach and find a more resilient safety net for freelance workers which must include housing costs.”
Mike Clancy, general secretary of Prospect, has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak asking for more to be done to “recognise and alleviate the situation of freelance and self-employed workers”.
Bectu represents more than 20,000 people working as freelancers in the creative industries.
Clancy added: “Freelance workers are in a particularly vulnerable situation during this pandemic. Many of them work in ways that mean that even small disruptions to their working patterns can cause real financial hardship. In addition they may have just faced a tax bill that will have reduced their ability to manage a period without work.
“My concern is not just for workers who have to self-isolate or who fall sick, but for those who face a more protracted period out of work due to the cancellation of productions or the closure of venues.
“Universal Credit is a system which time and time again has been proven to be completely unable to cope with any form of change in demand. Asking these workers to rely on Universal Credit or indeed ESA is simply inadequate.”