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Half of film and TV staff expect to regain normal work by next June – survey

Overall the respondents expected to earn 42% of their usual income this year.

(Yui Mok/PA)

Only about half (53%) of film and TV workers expect to regain normal levels of work by June next year, a survey from the Bectu union indicates.

The entertainment and media union surveyed 1,500 people working across the industry and asked them to rate each of the next 12 months from “I expect to have no work” to “I expect to be working normally/busier than normal”.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) said they were not working in June and 50% expected to return to work in July.

However, 7% expected to be not working by October.

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Bectu represents more than 30,000 staff in the creative industries (Lauren Hurley/PA)

Bectu represents more than 30,000 staff in the creative industries (Lauren Hurley/PA)

PA

Bectu represents more than 30,000 staff in the creative industries (Lauren Hurley/PA)

On average the respondents expected to earn 42% of their usual income in 2020.

However, the figure varied depending on which type of production they worked in.

Those working in factual and entertainment TV as well as high-budget and inward investment feature films were more optimistic, expecting to earn 49%.

Those working in lower budget scripted productions including children’s and comedy shows were the least optimistic, predicting they would earn 31%.

Low and mid-budget feature film workers expected to make 35%.

With so many people falling through the gaps of the support schemes there are questions to be asked about how much longer they will be able to survive financiallyPhilippa Childs

Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said the findings showed “that film and TV workers believe there is a long journey to recovery for the industry”.

She added: “With so many people falling through the gaps of the support schemes there are questions to be asked about how much longer they will be able to survive financially.

“What is most worrying in these findings is that lower paid crew, who are often entry level, expect to be worse off for many months still.

“Without reassurance that there is a plan for solid recovery for the film and TV industry, which includes Government underwriting insurance, we risk talent drifting away from a sector that is already facing a skills shortage.”

Ms Childs also described the Government’s £1.57 billion support package for the arts as “both necessary and extremely welcome”.

Theatres, museums, galleries, music venues, independent cinemas and heritage sites will be eligible for emergency grants and loans.

She said: “Bectu and others across the industry have been calling for this crucial support for some considerable time now.

“However having had a day to digest the announcement and the headline numbers, one thing is clear – if it isn’t administered very quickly and directed to those organisations most in need we will still continue to witness unnecessary job losses and more closures in the sector.

“Many theatres are already consulting on redundancies and they and their workers will be anxiously awaiting the detail of the package and crucially that consultation will not be halted until organisations feel confident that the funds will be available to allow them to continue to financially support their workforce.

“If we have to wait several more weeks it will be too late for many.”

Bectu, a sector of the Prospect union, represents more than 30,000 staff, contract and freelance workers in the creative industries.

PA