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Update on Bectu’s lobbying work around the Film and TV crisis

I wanted to update you on the continued work that we have been doing to highlight the crisis faced by lots of freelancers who usually work across film and TV. We shared the results of our February survey with broadcasters, politicians, industry stakeholders and press and have had some success in shining a light on the perilous situation many members are facing. Others, including the Film and TV Charity and Directors UK, along with many freelancer groups, have also helped to highlight the situation.

Anecdotally we think that there are some green shoots of recovery in major motion pictures and high-end TV production, which we hope is translating into jobs for more of our members leading into the summer. The industry has welcomed the new tax reliefs and credits for film and TV announced in the recent Spring budget and the expected boost for the sector. However, the situation relating to the slowdown in broadcasters’ commissions continues to create serious challenges for members, particularly those who work on unscripted productions.

In addition to our regular engagement with UK broadcasters, we have been meeting with most of the major broadcasters specifically to discuss the commissioning slowdown since we declared an emergency last year. Our interactions did result in some short-term initiatives to try to ease the situation in 2023, namely further donations to the Film and TV Charity to provide emergency relief and some training opportunities. We are clear that these discussions must also take a long-term focus and examine more impactful solutions and the need for structural change. We hope that these ongoing discussions will result in some meaningful progress, and we will keep you updated.

We have also been working hard to raise members’ concerns in parliamentary forums. The next couple of weeks will provide further opportunities for us to tell the story of what members in the industry are currently facing when we give evidence in person to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee for its enquiry into British film and high-end TV (after submitting detailed written evidence last year). We have also secured meetings with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport Secretary of State Lucy Frazer MP, and Shadow Minister for Creative Industries and Digital Chris Bryant MP, where we will stress the value of the freelance workforce in attracting inward investment and the very real and significant challenges that members are facing.

We continue to meet with politicians across the political spectrum to highlight this pressing issue and we know that Labour has also been raising these concerns with industry stakeholders. With a General Election happening sometime soon now is a good time to write to your MP and prospective parliamentary candidates to ask them how they intend to support the industry and the freelancers who are crucial to its success. Do contact your official if you need any help in this regard.

We will keep members informed of developments and will report back from these various meetings.

Yours Sincerely,

Philippa Childs

Head of Bectu

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