The Creative Industries Federation this week published the results of the survey we asked BCre8ive members and supporters to fill in earlier this year. You can download the full report HERE. The survey involved 700 freelancers from across the Creative Industries plus fifty major companies. In this blog we look at some of the key recommendations, which are now with the Government, and form part of the Creative Industries response to the UK Governments new Industrial Strategy.
While the government were asked at a policy level to look at the following points
- Recognise the importance of the creative freelance workforce
2. Make self-employment, across all sectors, part of a Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) ministerial brief
3. Introduce an immigration system that works for creative freelancers
4. Support a creative careers campaign – a UK-wide advertising campaign that inspires people to enter into the creative industries and dissolves misperceptions about careers within it, including freelance work
5. Ensure that the way government ranks higher education institutions does not disadvantage those institutions where students become freelancers instead of taking staff jobs after graduation.
The key areas identified for practical support were:-
- Support an independent UK-wide virtual hub – a ‘business booster network’ – which signposts existing business advice, local support services, and facilitates peer-to-peer mentoring
- Protect freelancers’ creative workspaces against development into residential spaces.
- Fund the accreditation of online courses aimed at freelancers
- The freelance workforce should be considered as part of HM Treasury’s review of patient capital (investment with no expectation of turning a quick profit)
- Pilot mechanisms to provide sustainable social security for freelancers
- Provide extra support during transition to Making Tax Digital and quarterly tax returns.
It will be the autumn before we know what the Government’s response will be. In the meantime, it is worth contacting your local MP about these key points in order for those formulating policy to fully appreciate the scale of what is required.
Much of the report reflects BCre8ive’s ‘Expanding the Creative Pipeline’ from the creation of a UK-wide virtual ‘hub’, referred to as a portal in the BCre8ive paper to the question of reviewing investment strategy for the Creative Industries.
The nature of freelance portfolio working has at last begun to be recognised. This pattern of employment involving several short term contracts as the main source of income, with often massively fluctuating levels of earning from year to year and periods of no-earning being common, or as part of a low income p/t employment economy, poses major problems for systems set up for people who are in full-time work. Systems which range from tax and social security to mortgage providers and large educational establishments.
With at least 43% of the Creative Industries being freelance, and the Creative Industries being identified as one of the five pillars for the new government’s industrial strategy now is the time for change.
Adopting the results of the survey and addressing the key issues of diversity and the marketing and export of freelance content and the importance of micro-companies who make up another 50% of the creative industries is essential if we are to fulfill our full creative potential.