Mayor of London teams up with Creative UK to support freelancers

26 May 2022

The Mayor of London’s Culture Team and Creative UK are joining forces in an effort to tackle "systemic inequalities" facing freelancers in creative industries. 

The partnership will hold an event in July where freelancers and organisations working across London’s creative economy will be given the opportunity to test, prioritise and develop ideas for a more sustainable freelance model for creatives.

The guidance and ideas that emerge from the online event will be taken forward and shaped into a robust business case, as part of City Hall's Redesigning Freelancing programme.

Creative UK said the fragility of the freelance model, which the creative industries rely on heavily, was revealed during the pandemic when many parts of the creative industries experienced a sudden, large drop in their volume of work, with freelancers left unsupported.

Evy Cauldwell French, Development & Partnerships Manager for Impact & Change at Creative UK, said: “Creative freelancers working throughout London continue to face an unequal playing field, with many sadly choosing to leave creative occupations due to unsustainable practices. 

"We are pleased to announce our partnership with the Mayor of London’s Culture Team, with whom we are empowering organisations and freelancers working across London’s creative economy to create a more sustainable future for our growing workforce.”

Arts workers get lowest pay rise of any sector

25 May 2022

Low pay and real-terms depreciation of salaries could ‘severely damage’ arts sector amid record number of job vacancies, advocates say.

Government seeks 5% savings from major arts and culture institutions

06 May 2022

A government review of public bodies will consider whether they should be retained or abolished as well as seeking efficiency savings of at least 5%.

Music venues take cut of merch sales

19 Apr 2022

Academy Music Group (AMG) venues are taking a 25% cut from merchandise sales at live events, according to an investigation by The Guardian.

An undisclosed amount then goes to Universal Music Group (UMG), owners of the world’s three largest record labels, even if the artist in question is not signed to UMG.

In March, post-punk band Dry Cleaning hosted a pop-up merch store away from their gig at London’s O2 Forum, owned by AMG, to retain their profits.

“We probably sold the same number of units, but as we were able to retain 25% it worked out better for us financially,” Band Manager Helena Watmuff said.

Over 380 venues nationwide are included in the Featured Artists Coalition's (FAC) 100% Venues directory, a public database of venues that charge zero commission on artists' merchandise sales.

FAC CEO David Martin said these venues are making selling merchandise at gigs worthwile for artists: “[This creates] a fairer and more sustainable touring circuit, particularly for grassroots and emerging talent.”

NPO board rules 'potentially damaging' for arts charities

24 Mar 2022

Governance requirements for the next National Portfolio are "taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut" and could lead to board flight. 

UK recorded music worth £1.3bn

23 Mar 2022

The UK's recorded music industry was worth £1.3bn last year, keeping its title as the world's third-largest music market, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) reports.

Trailing the US and Japan, it experienced 13.2% growth in revenues in 2021 - slower than the global average of 18.5%.

Recorded music revenues grew in every region, with the Middle East and North Africa and Latin America outpacing the rest of the world (35% and 31% growth respectively).

Streaming was unsurprisingly behind most of the increase, contributing 65% of recorded music revenues.

Lottery favourite promises more money for the arts

16 Mar 2022

A new National Lottery operator could mean an extra £439m but details of the deal are shrouded in secrecy.

Culture in Northern Ireland benefits from unclaimed accounts

16 Mar 2022

Cultural organisations in Northern Ireland will receive a share of £1.3m of unclaimed money through the Dormant Accounts Fund.

Among the recipients are volunteer-led Hearth Historic Buildings Trust and Terra Nova Productions, the country's only professional intercultural theatre production company.

Belfast Tool Library received £99,843 to recruit volunteers and generate more income through workshops and memberships.

“This will allow us to become more financially sustainable and secure our future,” Chair Neal Campbell said.

Since its inception, the fund has delivered £8m to 89 organisations across the arts, sports, charities and community-based organisations.

“Dormant Accounts money continues to make a significant difference in building resilience in non-for-profit organisations addressing social and economic need in our local communities.” said Paul Sweeney, National Lottery Community Fund NI Chair.

Missing audiences present major challenge to arts income

09 Mar 2022

New research suggests venues may not be able to convince up to 14% of regular attendees to return as restrictions lapse. How can organisations adapt?

Nightlife business costs grow by a quarter

08 Feb 2022

Nightlife businesses have experienced a 26% rise in their operating costs in the past year.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) survey reveals the ongoing effects of the pandemic, with businesses on average operating at 68.9% of their pre-pandemic trading levels.

Further cost increases are expected in April, with national living wage, national insurance, VAT and business rates all scheduled to rise.

NTIA CEO Michael Kill said many businesses will be forced to pass cost increases on to customers or risk going bust.

“These statistics show just how bleak things remain for our sector.

“I would now, even at this late stage, urge the Chancellor to postpone all the tax increases to give some perfectly viable night time economy businesses a fighting chance of survival.”
 

Yes, CRF grants are taxable

27 Jan 2022

Income tax on Culture Recovery Fund and other emergency grants is due next week - a shock to some following mixed messages from the Government.

Ministers intially said the grants would not be taxable, and HMRC appeared to confirm this after arts professionals questioned an email from Arts Council England suggesting otherwise.

The revenue department later backtracked, adding to the confusion.

The final line from HMRC below:

"Payments made from Arts Council England’s Emergency Response Fund fall into the taxable category if made for the purpose of replacing lost revenue of the claimants.  

"This is similar to the treatment of Self Employment Income Support Scheme payments and other Covid grants which have been made with the purpose of supporting businesses and jobs.”

Summer events face 'pronounced' skills shortage

24 Jan 2022

Two thirds say they need to delay or cancel work as skilled workers are slow to return to the industry.

Audiences lack confidence as cancellations abound

12 Jan 2022

Support for cutting the isolation period down to five days could alleviate pressure on productions but may not be enough to bring audiences back.

Vaccine passports 'not sustainable' in Wales

17 Dec 2021

A month after implementation, venues say Covid passes have had the opposite effect on audience confidence than the policy intended.

Support local arts this Christmas, ACNI says

15 Dec 2021

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) is urging people to support their local artists and arts venues this Christmas.

More than half of the country's cultural workforce remains at significant risk of redundancy, according to the findings of a recent taskforce.

People who are yet to use their £100 Spend Local cards should consider spending it on the arts, ACNI Director of Development Noirin McKinney said.

The council offers interest free loans for art and musical instrument purchases, or people could buy gig and theatre tickets or book themselves on a creative course for the new year.

"There's much to choose from and I would encourage everyone to spend local this festive season," McKinney added.

'Catastrophic' collapse in attendance under Plan B

15 Dec 2021

It's estimated nearly £2bn has been lost from music venues since last week's announcement.

Omicron has little impact on theatre sales

08 Dec 2021

Against fears the new variant might scare off audiences, data suggests ticketing and income has remained steady so far.

Breaking down class barriers

four actors performing on stage
01 Dec 2021

Performing arts students from working class backgrounds face considerable barriers to entering the theatre profession. Andrew Muir has set up a programme to address this.

A pernicious culture of unpaid work

a girl watches a pottery demonstration
25 Nov 2021

For a sector that’s for and by people, why do we find it so hard to invest in the very thing that makes us? asks Sara Whybrew.

Half of arts sector jobs were furloughed

18 Nov 2021

The cultural sector has suffered a 60% drop in economic output over the past 18 months, a University of Sheffield study reveals.

Restrictions led to 55% of sector jobs being furloughed - well above the national average of 16% - and more than 80,000 arts professionals applied to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

This amounts to 68% of eligible freelancers in the UK.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin said the study highlights the "catastrophic effect" of the lockdowns on arts workers' finances, job security and wellbeing.

"People in the sector have been losing sleep and have had much higher levels of anxiety."

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