We welcome the news that the current temporary higher rates of theatre tax reliefs will be extended for a two further years from April 2023 as well as the Government’s announcement that it will reform the audiovisual tax reliefs into expenditure credits with a higher rate of relief than under the current system.
This will be an enormous relief for a sector hit hard by the combination of Covid and spiralling energy costs, and will help to ensure that the UK can continue to produce world-class creative content.
However, while it was good to hear the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt pay tribute to the UK creative industries, we remain concerned that there remains in Government, a poor understanding of the freelance workforce that powers those industries. We will be seeking reassurances that changes to Universal Credit, work search requirements and the automation of the benefits sanction system, will not result in writers and other creatives being unfairly treated as a result of the working patterns common across the creative industries.
We welcome the Government’s decision to extend the Energy Price Guarantee for three months, something we have called for following our survey of freelance writers which showed that 55% of respondents said rising energy and food costs were impacting on their ability to sustain a writing career, severely affecting livelihoods.
It was notable that the Chancellor blamed the current wave of industrial action across the UK on inflation, when in fact we and our fellow trade unions know that many public service workers are taking action because wages in their sector are lower than they were in 2008. We continue to stand in solidarity with fellow unions and their members who are going on strike for fair pay and working conditions and to protect the right to strike.