Rishi Sunak

Budget 2021 – our response 

WGGB has welcomed support for the newly self employed in yesterday’s Budget announcement, but is deeply disappointed that the Chancellor Rishi Sunak has failed to plug the gaps in support for part-time freelancers and others excluded groups, despite a growing coalition of MPs, unions and others who have been speaking out in support of the Excluded UK community in recent months.

Earlier this week, WGGB was one of over 3,000 signatories to an open letter to the Chancellor, calling on him to right this injustice which has seen an estimated 3.8 million go without a penny of Covid support for nearly a year.

And WGGB has called on the Chancellor separately to ensure he writes writers into his Budget by plugging these gaps in support, as well as implementing other measures to support creative workers.

WGGB General Secretary Ellie Peers said:

“There was some good news in the Budget. We had called for an extension of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and the continuation of the £20 Universal Credit uplift, both of which will be in place for a further six months.

“We are also pleased to see a further £300 million for the Culture Recovery Fund and an extension of the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme.

“Of the 3.8 million self-employed who have previously been denied any Covid funding at all, 600,000 newly self-employed will now be eligible, but that still leaves an estimated three million workers facing many more months of hardship.

“The Chancellor has said he will continue to do ‘whatever it takes’ to support people’s jobs and livelihoods, and has pledged a total fiscal response of over £400 billion to the crisis, so it is very hard to see why he can’t do this and still balance the books.

“WGGB, alongside sister unions and other organisations in the creative sector, will continue to fight for those self-employed workers who power our world-leading cultural industries, and particularly our beleaguered theatre sector, which has been badly hit.”

More detail on yesterday’s announcement can be found here.

For sources of support with finances, mental health and more, go to our Covid-19 advice page.

Writers – we want to hear your stories 

Are you a writer excluded from Covid support, have you been affected by Brexit, or has Covid impacted on your work in other ways? Then do come along to our Zoom session on Monday 15 March at 1pm, to help us gather evidence to make the case for writers to MPs and other policy-makers.

RSVP by using this form (if you are unable to attend but want to submit evidence, there is space for you to do that on the form). You can also contact Nadine Edwards for further information by email: nadine@writersguild.org.uk

Photo: Shutterstock.com/TSalci