PRESS RELEASE: TREASURY COMMITTEE REPORT “ECONOMIC IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS: GAPS IN SUPPORT”
TREASURY COMMITTEE REPORT “ECONOMIC IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS: GAPS IN SUPPORT” – VIVA LA PD RESPONSE
MONDAY 15th JUNE 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Viva La PD welcomes the report published today by the Treasury Select Committee, which highlights the gaps in the government’s coronavirus income support schemes. Since the Chancellor announced the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) on 26th March 2020, we have been calling for the Treasury to acknowledge and redress issues with both this scheme and the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (CJRS), which have disproportionately affected TV freelancers and the support they have been able to receive.
During this time Viva La PD conducted two surveys and received almost 3000 responses. The message was loud and clear from television freelancers: 55% received no support from either scheme, which left many in dire financial straits.
The Treasury Committee’s report reiterates and underscores Viva La PD’s original findings and our continuing demands for:
Total elimination of the arbitrary £50,000 cap on the SEISS to bring it into alignment with the CRJS, up to £2,500 per month.
Recognition of dividends in lieu of income for those running small Personal Service Companies.
Recognition of issues with the CJRS for PAYE freelancers, and establish system to support them with 80% of earnings up to £2,500 per month
Extend support to newly self-employed workers unable to benefit from SEISS.
In addition, we also welcome the report’s acknowledgment that the Chancellor may reform tax arrangements for self-employed people in future, and that this suggestion is somewhat undermined if the schemes helping these very people are unfair.
All eyes are now on the Chancellor for his response, and we welcome this chance to reform the schemes, or create a new one to support those “forgotten freelancers” who have struggled to get by in recent months. QUOTES
“The chancellor has repeatedly ignored calls from Viva La PD and industry bodies to reform the coronavirus support schemes to help those struggling to get by. He needs to listen to the clear message from Parliament: change policy to support those “forgotten freelancers” who have struggled to get by. Television freelancers have been particularly affected and have lost out through no fault of their own because of the way the industry hires people.
“All eyes are now on the Chancellor. When he announced the Self Employed Income Support Scheme he said ‘You have not been forgotten, you will not be left behind, we are all in this together’ well Chancellor, now is the moment for you to help the thousands of freelancers who have faced months of uncertainty and anguish. No more excuses and delays - fix the gaps in the safety net.”
James Taylor, Viva La PD co-administrator
Report author “Freelancers: Fighting for Survival” & “TV Freelancers: Six Lost Months”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Viva La PD is an independent peer-to-peer community group for Television Producer / Directors, with over 1250 members.
In April, Viva La PD published a report “Freelancers: Fighting For Survival” (attached) based on a survey of almost 1000 TV professionals, to produce an up-to-date assessment of Covid-19's impact on the freelance television workforce. It found that fewer than 1 in 5 freelancers were working during lockdown.
In June, Viva La PD published key findings from a follow-up survey of nearly 2000 freelance professionals in the TV industry “TV Freelancers: Six Lost Months” (attached). The survey found over half of TV freelancers are ineligible to government support schemes, and face losing half a year of income.
James Taylor, Viva La PD co-administrator is available for contact.