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AMPS Open letter to the Chancellor
Friday, 20th March 2020
The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak
MP Chancellor of the Exchequer
1 Horse Guards Road
I am writing on behalf of the Association of Motion Picture Sound, the professional association representing over 550 Film, TV and Game industry sound professionals. I would like to draw your urgent attention to the serious effects the COVID-19 pandemic is already having on freelance self-employed workers and to ask you to consider additional measures to protect them.
The creative industries are worth well over £100 billion per year to the UK economy and have grown at nearly twice the rate of the wider economy since 2010. They are a very real success story but need your help to survive. The majority of our members are freelance individuals and at present there are no relevant benefit or sickness pay available to them.
The nature of our work making Film, TV and Games often necessitates a collaborative group of people in one location, interacting with each other and the public in close proximity. Travel is almost always needed. This is not possible in the current pandemic. The vast majority of work shooting new Film and TV has halted and self-employed workers will very soon receive no further pay.
Freelance worker's status, similar to those on zero hours contracts, means they cannot access the support you have announced for individual employees and companies. We think it is vital that this large sector of society is also supported. We do so much to provide employment, income and entertainment for the UK and worldwide, and once the crisis has subsided we need a workforce that can continue to bring many benefits to the UK people and economy.
We suggest two initiatives:
1. Access to statutory sickness pay for the self employed during the pandemic 2. Income support – either proportional to previous earnings, or a simple flat rate which enables basic living costs to be covered
If you need any further detail or to understand our sector better we are more than happy to engage and work together. As many of us are relying on the work produced by the Film, TV and game industries right now to keep us entertained in difficult times it is vital we have your support to continue.
Chairman, Association of Motion Picture Sound