The UK’s Film and TV Charity, which supports the mental health and the financial and social wellbeing of people working in behind-the-scenes roles in film, television, and cinema, says it has seen an 800 per cent rise in requests for stop-gap financial aid in July 2023, compared to the same month in 2022.
The charity has announced a £500,000 increase in its financial budget in order to help it meet the requirements of workers across the industry who are facing financial hardship due to the US actors and writers strikes impacting productions globally; the cost-of-living crisis; and pressures on scripted and unscripted production budgets.
Research conducted by the charity in May suggests low levels of financial resilience across the workforce, with workers from under-represented groups more likely to be affected. Nearly half of workers surveyed have less than £1,000 in savings, and 50 per cent aren’t contributing to a pension
The charity is calling on industry stakeholders to come together and work collectively to address this critical situation
The BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, and Prime Video have all pledged further donations to bolster the charity’s budget, adding to donations from other organisations and individuals that have been made during its summer campaign. Other partners are expected to make contributions, said the charity.
The Film and TV Charity CEO Marcus Ryder said the rise in applications underlines a “systematic problem” with the financial resilience of those working in the UK’s production sector.
“As far back as 2019, our Looking Glass research highlighted the impact the boom-and-bust nature of the business can have on workers, especially freelancers,” he added. “In February 2023, the latest Looking Glass data showed 75 per cent of respondents were worried about future income, and that was before the current cost-of-living crisis and other factors affecting production had taken root.”
Ryder added: “Having weathered the pandemic as an industry, the cost-of-living crisis, and other contributing factors like the impact of US strikes on global production, and pressures on scripted and unscripted production budgets, [we] see financial instability emerging as a growing concern and a significant contributor to the mental health and wellbeing of film, TV, and cinema workers, especially freelancers and other already marginalised workers.”
The Film and TV Charity encourages anyone who is dealing with financial worries, debt or who is experiencing mental health concerns to contact its free, 24/7 Film and TV Support Line by calling 0800 054 0000 or by visiting www.filmtvcharity.org.uk.