The Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU) have published this open letter, calling on Government to introduce an income guarantee for freelance and self-employed workers for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak."> The Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU) have published this open letter, calling on Government to introduce an income guarantee for freelance and self-employed workers for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak."> The Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU) have published this open letter, calling on Government to introduce an income guarantee for freelance and self-employed workers for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak.">
skip to main content

FEU Calls for an Income Guarantee to Protect Workers in the Arts and Media

The Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU) have published this open letter, calling on Government to introduce an income guarantee for freelance and self-employed workers for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Published: 23 March 2020 | 12:00 AM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:30 PM
Diverse group of people standing together and supporting each other
An income guarantee for freelance and self-employed workers for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak is urgently needed

The MU is a part of the FEU, alongside the BECTU section of Prospect, Equity, the National Union of Journalists and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain. Together, we represent more than 100,000 people working in the entertainment and creative industries.

Why we are calling on Government

The letter reads as follows:

We are actors, journalists, theatre workers, musicians, writers, entertainers, production crew, directors, designers and many other professions.

Theatres have gone dark, music venues are silent and film and TV productions have closed. Freelance journalists and photographers are finding their work diaries are being cleared out.

We don’t know for how long our workplaces will be closed or how many will re-open.

​A huge number of us are freelance and self-employed workers and have no prospect of alternative employment in the coming months. The majority of freelances are not eligible for statutory sick pay if they are unable to work because of the virus and have recourse only to Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit.

These welfare benefits are for those on low or zero incomes, and unsuitable for those who make a living from self-employment. The system is complex and time-consuming, and as it is means-tested those with savings are ineligible. Most freelances keep money aside to pay for their tax bill and other contingencies.

We urgently need the Government to step in and help us at this time.  The UK’s creative industries are a massive success story and have been a key driver of economic growth, contributing £100bn-plus to the UK economy.

We call on the Government to introduce an income guarantee for freelance and self-employed workers for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak.​

Further Guidance on Coronavirus

For the latest advice and news for musicians please see our Coronavirus Advice Hub.

Make the most out of MU membership

Access expert music industry advice and services whether you are a full-time professional musician, occasional gig player, part-time music teacher or anything in between.

Explore our services available to members only 

  • Be free from insurance worries
  • Get expert legal support
  • Be represented in your profession
  • Access expert career advice, resources and training events
  • Connect, network and get to know the community of musicians

Learn about all membership benefits

Make the most out of MU membership

Continue reading