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Call for more support for creative freelancers
by Susie Hughes at 13:22 21/07/17 (News on Business)
A report from the Creative Industries Federation calls for a number of key supports for freelancers in the creative industries, alongside practical recommendations to improve the working lives of the self-employed.
The Federation's new report, Creative Freelancers, draws on evidence from 700 freelancers and around 50 organisations that use them to show who these workers are and what they do.

Nearly half of the creative workers in the creative industries - 47 per cent - are freelance compared with 15 per cent across the workforce as a whole.

Among the recommendations is a call for self-employment across all sectors to be made ‘part of a Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) ministerial brief’.

It also wants to improve conditions and opportunities for creative freelancers, including improved access to universal credit, ‘a UK-wide virtual hub or business booster network’ and funding for the accreditation of online courses for freelancers.

It says that a lack of understanding by policy makers means freelancers have been ignored or poorly served. 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.

The report was welcomed by freelancer group, IPSE. Its Director of Policy, Simon McVicker, said: “Reports like this are vital not only for underlining the difficulties creative freelancers face, but also for pushing for much-needed support.

"As the report shows, 65 per cent of creative freelancers have worked for free and – even more shockingly – 80 per cent think this is normal. In fact, our own research has shown that the average creative freelancer loses approximately £5,400 per year by working for free.

“That’s why we fully agree with the Creative Industries Federation that the Government must recognise the importance of creative freelancers and do more to support them. Of course, unpaid work and lack of support are problems not just among creative freelancers, but across the self-employed community.

"So we wholeheartedly support the report’s calls for self-employment across all sectors to be made part of a BEIS ministerial brief. This would be a significant step towards getting freelancers across all sectors the support and recognition they deserve.”

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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2017

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