The Budget back to listing
In Wednesday’s Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced another £390m to help arts venues in England reopen. £300m will go to the pre-existing Culture Recovery Fund, with £90m to helping national museums and cultural bodies.
Welcome news of course, but the focus on venues continues, which is not the clearest pathway for a sector so dependant upon freelancers – particularly for Outdoor Arts, which is largely venue-free.
As we move towards recovery, it was a disappointment that there were no plans to introduce government-backed insurance for live events, which would have helped may events plan with more confidence.
For a few organisations, the extension of the furlough scheme until September will be useful, but full-time employment is not the norm for the majority of people working in the sector.
The inclusion of 600,000 newly self-employed into the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme may also be of use to some of our colleagues – defined as those “who traded between and have completed a tax return for 2019 to 2020 are eligible for help”. But, by definition, the ‘newly’ self-employed may be on very low earnings.
There are clearly still people in all areas of the arts and cultural sector who continue to fall through the gaps. The effect on individual welfare is paramount, but it also has a detrimental effect on our cultural ecology and the future growth of our vibrant Outdoor Arts sector.
We join the Creative Industries Federation in calling for something concrete to address this wider issue: “more than just support, we need urgent structural change to ensure freelancers – a vital part of our future workforce – have every opportunity to thrive.”