Creative Industries Federation launches drive to support freelance workforce

New measures to support "ignored or poorly served" creative freelancers have been unveiled by the Creative Industries Federation.

The Federation is also challenging the creative sector to take responsibility for bad practices such as late payment and unpaid work as it launches its new initiative today. 

Recommendations to improve the working lives of the self-employed include:

  • 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.
  • 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.

The initiative comes a week after a review was published last week by government advisor Matthew Taylor into modern employment practices and the so-called "gig economy".

However, the Federation warned, creative workers are distinct from "gig economy" workers and suffered from being "ignored or poorly-served" by policy makers.

For example, there is no visa for freelancers and universities are judged by the numbers of students in full-time employment after graduation, even in careers where a portfolio of freelance work is better training.

Nearly half of the creative workers in the creative industries (47%) are freelance, compared with 15% across the workforce as a whole.

The report, Creative Freelancers, draws on evidence from 700 freelancers and 50 companies that use them and was launched by actress Imelda Staunton at the National Theatre this morning, where she spoke of her own experience as a freelance.

Creative industries minister Matt Hancock said: "The Federation's Creative Freelancers report provides a valuable explanation of the way freelancers work and the huge contribution they make to the UK's creative industries. 

"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."

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