The Creative Industries Federation has sent an open letter signed by over 30 trade bodies to chancellor Rishi Sunak, calling for income protection for freelance workers amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Signatories include the Association Of Independent Music, the Featured Artists Coalition, the Incorporated Society Of Musicians, the Music Education Council, the Musicians' Union and UK Music.
The letter urges the chancellor to "stand by our highly valuable self-employed workforce, and urgently consider our proposal to help make this a reality".
The government last week pledged to pay 80% of wages for employees who are not working due to the pandemic up to £2,500 per month, but there was little in the package for the self-employed and freelance workers that support the music industry.
In the letter, Caroline Norbury, chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation and Creative England, said: "Your package of support for employers and employees was unprecedented and welcome. "However, it creates a worrying inequity between those who now have their income secured and the UK’s five million self-employed workers who are left despondent."
We propose that the government creates a Temporary Income Protection Fund of £15bn to provide all self-employed workers with a monthly income matching their average existing earnings
Creative Industries Federation
Norbury stressed that a third of the UK’s creative workforce are self-employed - higher than the national average of 15% - and recommended the creation of a £15 billion Temporary Income Protection Fund.
"Our recent survey revealed that 60% of creative freelancers predict their income will more than halve in 2020, and over 50% of freelancers who responded to our snap poll have already had 100% of their work cancelled," she said.
"We have been working with IPSE - the representative body for the UK’s self-employed community - and over 40 trade and membership bodies and unions from across the creative industries to develop a solution, and would welcome the opportunity to constructively discuss this proposal, and other practical ideas, with you and your team as soon as possible.
"We propose that the government creates a Temporary Income Protection Fund of £15bn to provide all self-employed workers with a monthly income matching their average existing earnings over the past three years, capped at average UK earnings after the basic rate of income tax and with a minimum monthly income of the Real Living Wage. There is now precedent for this across Europe."
She added: "Our self-employed workforce are a source of incredible creativity, agility, and innovation. It is vital that they receive support equal to employees and collectively explore, given this difficult time, how such talent could be employed and redeployed to help the national effort."