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Nearly Half Of UK Film & TV’s Freelance Workforce Struggling Financially, Research Finds

Nearly half of UK film and TV’s ailing freelance community are struggling financially, according to alarming research from the Film & TV Charity (FTVC).

The charity surveyed more than 2,000 freelancers for its Money Matters report and found that 40% feel they wouldn’t be able to make ends meet for any more than a month if they lost their income. This figure dropped by around 5 percentage points for those who have run out of money before the end of the week or month “most of the time” over the past year. More than 70% were pessimistic or very pessimistic about their financial future and 42% had less than £1,000 ($1,270) in savings.

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The charity pointed in particular to those with a disability or a long-term health condition, and carers with adult dependents, who are finding it “particularly difficult.”

The UK’s freelance community has been hit over the past few months by a perfect storm of recession, cost-of-living crisis and the U.S. strikes, and a similar Bectu survey recently found that around three-quarters were out of work – having only a year prior been at virtually full employment.

The FTVC research said the U.S. writer and actor strikes had led to cancelled work for more than a quarter of respondents.

The report follows up on a snapshot survey conducted by the charity last year where the organization saw a whopping 800% rise in applications for its Stop-Gap Grant from workers experiencing urgent financial need.

FTVC CEO Marcus Ryder said the report makes for “sobering” reading.

“Currently, behind the scenes workers are asked to navigate an industry prone to boom and bust cycles, to deal with structural shifts and respond and pivot to meet the needs of changing business models,” he said.

“In too many cases, they’re asked to do so without any of the safety nets afforded to other workers, despite being at the heart of a multi-billion pound pillar of the UK economy. At the same time, we ponder why people are leaving the workforce and why we struggle to attract and retain talent from marginalised or under-represented groups.”

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