ISM responds to launch of Wales £7m Creative Freelancers Support Fund

Freelancers working in the cultural and creative sectors in Wales are now able to apply for their share of a £7 million fund – which is targeted specifically at those in the freelance sector hit hardest by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The fund will be open to freelancers in the sub sectors of arts, creative industries, arts and heritage events and culture and heritage, whose work has direct creative and cultural outcomes. Individuals will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,500. Further details of this fund can be found on Business Wales website.

Responding to the opening of the Welsh Government’s Creative Freelancers Support Fund, ISM Chief Executive, Deborah Annetts said:

‘We are so pleased that the applications for the Creative Freelancers Support Fund in Wales is now open. This fund will be a vital lifeline for many freelancers within the creative industries who have had no income since March and who cannot return to work due to government restrictions and with venues still closed. The creative industries in Wales is known for its world-leading talent which makes a huge contribution to our economy and global influence, so it is vital that freelancers are not forgotten and measures are put in place to help them until they can work again.

We are urging the UK Government to deliver on its pledge to ensure there is parity between employees and the self-employed by maintaining the existing level of support provided by the SEISS and expanding the eligibility criteria, or to implement solutions that will allow freelancers to return to work in Covid-secure spaces. These are dynamic entrepreneurs who will be back on their feet as soon as the sector can reopen, so any support measures need only last until the necessary safety precautions are eased.'

Notes for Editors

Official press release from the Welsh Government on the opening of applications for the Creative Freelancers Support Fund

On 24 September, Chancellor, Rishi Sunak unveiled his 'Winter Economy Plan' at the House of Commons. Read our full press release in response to the announcement

A letter coordinated by the ISM and Equity and signed by over 120 organisations from across the creative sector was sent to the Chancellor on 19 August 2020. Covered by The Guardian, it called on the government to extend financial support for freelancers working in the performing arts and entertainment industries.

The latest research by the Office for National Statistics showed that the arts, entertainment & recreation is the worst affected sector by Coronavirus. We have the highest proportion of the workforce furloughed, the highest self-rated risk of insolvency and most decreased footfall.

The Government is working on a plan to reopen venues which may include safe alternatives to social distancing, specific testing programmes and financial support measures.

Further information

A recent survey by Encore (an ISM corporate partner) found that 64% of UK musicians are thinking about leaving the music business altogether. Since March, 40% have applied for a non-music job, and 41% of the 568 respondents hadn’t received any government support during the disruption of the pandemic.

On 7 September, the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee called on the government to extend the furlough scheme for companies working in the arts and leisure sectors to prevent industry wide redundancies.

On 8 September, the DCMS committee heard from industry leaders including Andrew Lloyd Webber who warned that the arts are at a 'point of no return'. This was covered by the BBC, Sky News and many other outlets.

On 9 September), Parliament debated extending the coronavirus support schemes and the ISM provided a briefing to MPs.

About the ISM

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK's professional body for musicians and a nationally-recognised subject association for music. Since 1882, we have been dedicated to promoting the importance of music and protecting the rights of those working in the music profession.

We support over 10,000 music professionals across the UK and Ireland with our unrivalled legal advice and representation, comprehensive insurance and specialist services. Our members come from all areas of the music profession and from a wide variety of genres and musical backgrounds.

We campaign tirelessly in support of musicians’ rights, music education and the profession as a whole. We are a financially independent not-for-profit organisation with no political affiliation. This independence allows us the freedom to campaign on any issue affecting musicians. For more information, please contact [email protected]