The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) is calling on the Scottish Government to set up a £20-million emergency support package for Scottish writers and other creatives, as part of a set of proposals to protect and promote the health of the sector and those who work within it.
The proposals, launched today (15 July 2020) by the Scottish branch of the WGGB, are calling for these funds to be allocated from two sources totaling £107 million:
- The Scottish Government’s £10-million Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund (announced 3 July 2020); and
- £97-million of funding earmarked for Scotland as part of the UK Government’s £1.57 billion support package for the arts (announced 5 July 2020).
The proposals call for:
- The establishment of a £15-million Creative Sustainable Livelihood Fund for freelance creatives in Scotland who do not qualify for current support, for example the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
- A £5-million Creative Commissions scheme in Scotland which would enable both freelance and employed artists to contribute their expertise to the task of safeguarding and taking forward the many arts companies and venues which are at risk, as well as promoting inclusivity and diversity.
- The setting up of Knowledge Transfer Workshops in Scotland run by established industry organisations to provide freelance and employed arts workers with the latest professional and entrepreneurial skills.
The proposals also reflect recommendations made by the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery in its report to Scottish Government last month, which called for the Scottish Government to work with the sector to create a National Arts Force, composed of freelance and gig economy workers across the sector, to work in schools, care homes and communities.
The Scottish branch has outlined its proposal in letters to Scottish Government Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop, cross-party Culture Convener Joan McAlpine and Creative Scotland Chief Executive Iain Munro. It is also consulting and working with other organisations and unions in the sector and seeking urgent discussions with those making decisions about the allocation of the emergency funding.
WGGB Scotland Chair Bill Armstrong said, “Many freelance writers and other creative workers have missed out on emergency funding until now and our constructive and innovative proposals would see them getting a £15-million share of the £107-million lifeline funding which the First Minister has said will be quickly passed on in full to culture and heritage in Scotland.
“Our proposals also offer significant community and economic benefits as the initiative and creativity of the cultural workforce would be harnessed for the common good and to help establish Scotland as a world leader in the creative industries.
“We believe our proposals would also promote faster recovery and a more resilient sector, as well as capitalising on this unique opportunity to address the long-term problem of inadequate arts funding in Scotland and the precarious incomes of creatives who work within it.”
Photo of Scottish Parliament: Shutterstock.com/UlmusMedia