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UK broadcasters call for support for television industry freelancers

They said ‘a category of freelancers will not qualify for any of the current Government assistance schemes’.

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ITV (Ian West/PA)

ITV (Ian West/PA)

ITV (Ian West/PA)

A group of major UK broadcasters have written to the Culture Secretary calling for television industry freelancers to be made eligible for Government support during the coronavirus outbreak.

The BBC, ITV, Sky, Channel 4, Viacom and the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (Pact) have said that there is a risk of freelancers “unintentionally falling through the cracks” of the schemes put in place to help workers.

The letter claimed that “a category of freelancers will not qualify for any of the current Government assistance schemes”.

The letter added: “Our teams stand ready to deliver what assistance we can to help this important group of workers in our world-leading creative economy.”

The letter said that some workers who are freelancers but have been paid continuously via PAYE will not meet the requirements for schemes that have been put in place by the Chancellor.

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The BBC (Ian West/PA)

The BBC (Ian West/PA)

PA

The BBC (Ian West/PA)

It added that these workers may not meet furloughing requirements, either because they were not on the payroll at the right time or because they did not have enough time to run on their contract.

They may also not qualify as self-employed and will not qualify for corporate support as they are not trading through a limited company, it added.

“This is a particular issue in our industry which, whilst not colossal in scale, is too big and too fragmented for any business to be able to deal with,” the letter said.

The letter was signed by ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall, BBC director-general Lord Hall, Sky UK and Europe chief executive Stephen Van Rooyen, Viacom CBS president Maria Kyriacou, Pact chief executive John McVay and Channel 4’s chief executive Alex Mahon.

PA