Cultural & Creative Self-Employment in Hard Times (New Deal of the Mind report)

180820091515Arts 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?

Click on these links to read the full reports from NDotM and the five point plan from FSB

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