Arts Council England contracted New Deal of the Mind to research the role of the self-employed in the Creative & Cultural Industries. There are all sorts of interesting nuggets in the full report, here are our favourite stats, ideas and food for thought:
- It is estimated that 41% of people working in the creative sectors are freelance or self-employed
- As of April 2009 there is a 16 week ‘self employment credit’ of £50/week for those who are claiming unemployment benefit
- The Federation of Small Businesses are calling for a new version of the Enterprise Allowance Scheme … in 1989 65% of those who’d been on this scheme were still trading 3 years later
- NDotM suggests that creative businesses join with the FSB in calling for this new EAS
- Unemployment has risen in the creative industries from 43,445 in April 2008 to 83,660 in April 2009
- Creatives rarely see self-employment as a route to employment and instead see themselves as collaborating with other independents to grow their opportunities. In this sense they don’t see a value in being ‘unemployed’ and working through Job Centres to find employment but see self-employment as a valid status that helps them find work.
Whilst a 16 week offer is a step in the right direction it usually takes longer than this to get a venture going and, like the FSB and NDotM MyCake would suggest that a 6-12 month programme would be considerably more effective.
In January 2009 the FSB launched its five point plan which calls for 48 weeks of benefit payments (£200 per week for 24 weeks, followed by £100 per week for a further 24 weeks), alongside investment grants and a £1,500 training grant. The FSB cites research showing that new small firms grow at a faster rate than larger companies and create more employment opportunities even when corrected for their higher probabilities of exit.
What do you think is needed?