WFTV survey – 90% members lose all income

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WFTVWomen in Film and TV (UK) has announced the results of its membership survey, with 90% of respondents saying they have lost all their income. 

The range of roles of those who responded to the survey is broad – encompassing directing, on-location roles, production management and a spectrum of craft-based jobs. 

Liz Tucker, chair, WFTV said, “Our survey shows how the Covid-19 Crisis is creating acute financial distress. It’s leaving our members really worried and concerned about how they pay their bills, rent and mortgages in the coming months. While we welcome the government’s financial packages which will help support some freelancers and the self-employed. 

“The current package has left many of our freelance and self-employed members unable to claim any financial support at all. Far too many of them simply fall through the cracks of the current support scheme”.

WFTV has written again to the government asking them to provide further support for freelancers and the self-employed. It has highlighted three particular areas of concern:

Freelancers earning £50,000 a year or more. Currently, someone earning £51,000 per annum is unable to claim anything, whereas someone earning £49,000 a year can claim the maximum amount.

Freelancers working through limited companies. A large number of freelancers work through these companies; in many cases, they are required to do so as a condition of their employment. So, WFTV has proposed that in these cases, the freelancer’s combined salary and dividends be used in any financial grant calculation, rather than solely calculating this figure on the freelancer’s salary.

Freelancers with less than one year’s accounts. A number of freelancers have contacted WFTV because they have only gone freelance in the last few months.

For workers in this situation, WFTV has requested that the government allows freelancers to file their 5 April 2020 tax return by 31 May 2020, and for their 19/20 income to be the one used to calculate the grant payable.

In addition, in these cases, WFTV would suggest that the requirement that the freelancer’s self-employed income is more than 50% of their earnings before they can claim be removed. If someone has only been freelance for several months, it is very likely that they will have made most of that year’s income from non-freelance earnings.

Women in Film and TV is also scheduling a range of online webinars, and 121 sessions to help members during this this time. 

Tucker emphasised: “At the moment this is a very fast-changing situation, with financial advice from the government being updated on an almost daily basis, so as we respond to this crisis and continue to hear from our members, there may well be support for other groups that the Chancellor needs to look at again too.”