Articles - 17th June 2020

A Boom for Freelancers, but the Creative Industries will struggle

Words by The UP team

The Boom is coming for Freelancers… (Forbes)

Freelancers are likely to find themselves in more demand in the future, with 47% of hiring managers more likely to hire independent professionals since the COVID-19 crisis than they were in the future, according to new research by the giant freelance platform Upwork.

However, past downturns may be a guide. In the last recession, many employers who laid off traditional workers shifted to relying more on temps and freelancers to avoid adding fixed costs to their balance sheets. For people who are freelancing voluntarily, this can be an ideal situation to grow a business, because such workers are in more demand. 


… but a negative projected Economic Impact for the UK Creative Industries according to CIF (Creative Industries Federation)


The Creative Industries Federation has today warned of a “cultural catastrophe” as newly commissioned research from Oxford Economics reveals that the UK’s creative industries are on the brink of devastation. The UK’s creative sector was previously growing at five times the rate of the wider economy, employing over 2 million people and contributing £111.7 billion to the economy – more than the automotive, aerospace, life sciences and oil and gas industries combined.

Now new research from Oxford Economics projects a combined revenue drop of £74 billion for the UK’s creative industries in 2020 (£1.4 billion a week), with a GVA drop of £29 billion. 406,000. 1 in 5 creative jobs expected to be lost – more than nine times the entire workforce of British Airways or almost triple the workforce of Asda in the UK. 

Impact to be felt in all parts of the UK, with creative industries projected to be hit twice as hard as the wider economy overall and up to three times as hard regionally.  


L’Officiel Freelancers Look to Legal Action for Long Overdue Payments (WWD)

The number of freelancers claiming to have gone wholly unpaid for their work for L’Officiel continues to grow and legal action is looming.

As WWD reported last month, there are dozens of L’Officiel freelancers, including writers, photographers and stylists, who claim that work they did last year and even the year before has gone unpaid. 

Separately, the National Writers Union is planning to take legal action for at least a dozen L’Officiel freelancers it’s been representing over nonpayment.


Self-employed warned a third of government grant may be clawed back (YourMoney)

Grants under the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) are likely to be included in claimants’ 2020/21 self-assessment tax returns.

While many recipients may not realise the grant (up to £2,500 a month) is taxable, the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) warns that a third of the grant may have to be paid back in tax and Class 4 national insurance contributions (NICs) by 31 January 2022 at the latest.


Post-lockdown cultural recovery plans still vague (Rhine Gold

In England the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) called together a Task Force (there are four in other areas of government too) to report on the requirements for Cultural Renewal. The idea is to find out what is necessary and then take the list to the Treasury. 

Mark Pemberton, chief executive of the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) says, ‘We are just focusing on getting an orchestra back on stage or into the pit. In theory we can already go back to work behind closed doors. There is a desire in DCMS that concert halls and theatres can open from July but practically and financially that is just not possible. It is not helped by the fact that Public Health England want further consideration about how safe playing wind and brass instruments is.’


Uber drivers in court over ministers’ failure to help gig workers (Personnel Today)

The High Court is today hearing a case brought by two Uber drivers and the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) over HM Treasury’s alleged failure to protect low paid and precarious workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The claimants argued that the current statutory sick pay (SSP) regime discriminates against women, black, Asian and minority ethnic workers and individuals in the gig economy. They also argued that the exclusion from the CJRS of “limb (b)” workers – the category of self-employment where the worker is entitled to basic employment rights such as holiday pay – is discriminatory.


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