Supporting Illustration Post Covid: a time for radical, ambitious thinking

As members know, we have been working to ensure that illustrators, and creative freelancers, get the support from Government that they need through this pandemic.

Despite the unprecedented level of support that has been offered, there are significant failings.  The challenges our members face are varied, sometimes nuanced, but fundamentally about income.  We are continuing to make those failings visible.

That the Government needs to do more has been heard. The Chair of the DCMS Committee Julian Knight MP said on 5 June:

“It’s clear that the government needs to be doing much more to support the people in our creative industries who contribute so much to our national life but now find their livelihoods in jeopardy because they’re not eligible for government support schemes….Freelancers, company directors, the self-employed have told us about the devastating consequences for them and the creative businesses they work for.”

You can read the statement in full here.

We are asking the Government to act in two ways.  Firstly to deliver remedial action to address the failings in policy and provision already announced, and secondly to look to the future with ambition and commitment.

The post-war response included the Marshall Plan and industrial and social strategies for recovery, not least the creation of the NHS and, for culture, the Arts Council of Great Britain. Such an all-encompassing, visionary approach is now needed for our creative industries again.

In our most recent DCMS submission we ask for;

Radical ambitious plans which empower our innovative, ambitious industry with determined, committed policy… alongside the practical extensions and developments of the schemes put in place which we detail below, we urge you to explore;

  1. Legislation to ensure contracts are clear and fair, creating a level playing field for creative freelancers.
  2. Protection of our world-leading framework for copyright and the protection of intellectual property in the digital world and ensure this is promoted robustly during the ongoing negotiations on our future international trading relationships.
  3. A universal income for creative freelancers allowing experimentation outside of the immediate constraints of commercial necessity.
  4. Subsidised housing for creative freelancers with necessarily erratic incomes.”

We have an opportunity of a lifetime to throw the status quo up in the air, and think not just what we must we do, but what we could do.  You can read our full submission here.

We are continuing to work with our peers in various organisations to shape our thinking and to speak together.  We will continue to fight for our illustration, and the illustrators with the creativity and passion which is characteristic of our industry.

18th June 2020

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