ALCS reaction to the Conservative manifesto

The Conservative manifesto touches on the creative industries, but we would like to see more detailed policies to help authors.

The Conservatives have launched their manifesto ahead of the 4 July election. While it mentions training for those in the creative industries, improving incomes for the self-employed and states their intention to protect creator remuneration, we would like to see more detail on these issues and more.

We welcome the Conservatives’ announcement to support freelancers by abolishing the main rate of self-employed National Insurance. However, the self-employed workforce face an array of unique challenges, and we want to see these addressed through the creation of a dedicated Freelancer Commissioner.

Their manifesto vows to ensure creators are properly protected and remunerated for their work, while also making the most of the opportunities of AI and its applications for creativity in the future. Without a clear picture of how exactly this will be approached, creators may still be at risk of losing out, as AI continues to use copyrighted works with little consequence. Creatives must have transparency and control when it comes to the use of their works, and ALCS is calling for the next Government to make it clear that licences are required to use copyrighted content in AI.

The manifesto also failed to include a commitment to a UK private copying scheme, already adopted by 45 countries around the world. The Smart Fund would raise £300 million for creatives each year, while not imposing a cost on consumers.

We’re happy to see the Conservatives pledge to deliver a flexible coordination service so that people working in film, TV, gaming or music can work on live productions while receiving 12 months of secure training. However, measures need to be looked at not only for routes in, but also opportunities for ongoing training and development for freelancers that their counterparts in contracted roles enjoy.

We believe more analysis is required to understand the impact of a growing Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) market and how it impacts the remuneration of writers. Tax reliefs were also pledged to be kept at competitive rates, but the next Government has an opportunity to push further and ensure the UK’s audiovisual tax reliefs are the most accessible in the world.

The upcoming election holds an opportunity for our next Government to address fundamental issues for creatives across the UK, and we hope the Conservatives can expand further on their policies in this area and look at what more can be done to support authors.

ALCS Deputy Chief Executive Richard Combes said “We hope all parties running in the upcoming election strongly support the creative industries across the UK, a sector that generated £126billion in gross value for the economy in 2022. We are calling on the next Government to address a wide range of challenges creatives face, to show their commitment to fair remuneration, representation and rights in the creative industries.”

Read our manifesto to learn more about our campaign work.

Visit The Write Share to learn about the remuneration solutions a new Government should support.

Read the full Culture, Media and Sport report supporting our calls for a Freelancer Commissioner and Smart Fund here.