Government must support creatives with Covid takeover to protect diversity in industry
3 min read
Without decisive action, there are widespread concerns that the negative impact of Covid on profits will further affect diversity within the creative industry.
We have seen over the past year the devastating impact that Covid-19 has had on the livelihoods of actors in the creative sector, with cultural efforts in television productions, films and music being halted.
Throughout this, as chairman of the All Party Writers Group, I have seen in forensic detail the acute impact on writers in the UK. We recently published a report on how best to support authors through this crisis and into the recovery.
The report follows the 2018 APPG survey into the already worrying state of authors ‘incomes, which found – through a survey conducted by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society – that a drop of 42% income in real terms had taken place from 2005 to 2018. This recent session focused on the challenges that the authors had faced since the start of the pandemic, including the cancellation of commissions, the loss of personal appearances during the pandemic. foreclosure, the closure of high street bookstores and gaps in government support, which has failed many freelancers.
Establish a Creators Council as a clear line of communication between government and the creative workforce to assist and inform policy development
The report made ten recommendations to the government, which we believe, if implemented, will go a long way in ensuring writers a sense of security and support in continuing to create works for British audiences and to contribute to the revived success of the UK’s Cultural and Creative Industries.
A basic request we have is to establish a “Creators Council” as a clear line of communication between government and the creative workforce to assist and inform policy development during the recovery process and beyond. .
We have discovered, thanks to the large number of freelancers who have fallen through the shortcomings of emergency funding and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), that it is not enough for the government to consult only industry, because it is clear that in a lack of understanding about how the creative workforce works.
Writers are at the heart of the UK’s creative economy, helping to produce the plays, television, films and books we all enjoy, though they are often overlooked. The recommendations formulated in the report will also make it possible to fight against inequalities, which have been exacerbated for a year for writers.
We believe that without decisive action, there is widespread concern that the impact on profits will further affect diversity within the industry. The writers are typically freelancers, and witness accounts, including children’s author Dawn Finch, discussed the impact, explaining that the sources of income that many writers rely on have simply been wiped out, leaving their uncertain future.
The report follows studies from the Royal Society of Literature and DCMS statistics which suggest that writing as a profession, and the creative industries more broadly, is a disproportionate career path for those who already have the means. independent.
The government now has the opportunity, during the recovery process, to support authors in a meaningful way that shows future generations of all walks of life that the creative sector is a viable career path that will compensate them fairly for their vital work. I look forward to discussing and working with ministers to achieve this.
Giles Watling is the Conservative MP for Clacton. Read the All Party Writers Group investigation report here.