The Scottish Government announced on 11 February 2021 that a further £17.5 million of emergency coronavirus funding has been allocated to support creative freelancers and the events sector. £9 million of which will be distributed as a top-up to the Creative Freelancers Hardship Fund and Screen Hardship Fund, bringing the total value of support for creative freelancers to £17 million.
You can always find the latest Scottish Government updates here: LINK
For specific Scottish Government sector guidance follow these quick links, Performing Arts and Venues sector guidance and Events sector guidance.
Since Tuesday 5 January, mainland Scotland’s COVID-19 Protective Framework Level has moved from Level 4 to a temporary Lockdown, with new guidance to stay at home except for essential purposes. On Tuesday 24 February the First Minister published the revised Strategic Framework to gradually ease COVID-19 restrictions in Scotland.
The updated Strategic Framework sets out the six tools the Scottish Government will use to restore, on a phased basis, greater normality to our everyday lives. Scotland would then revert to a similar levels based system that was in place towards the end of 2020.
The six tools are defined as:
- the quickest practical roll-out of our vaccination programme
- the most effective use of Test and Protect
- applying proportionate protective measures (rules and guidance) to suppress transmission of the virus
- effective measures to manage the risk of importation of the virus
- supporting individuals, businesses and organisations to adhere to protective measures
- providing care and support to mitigate the harms of the crisis
There is likely to be a gap of at least three weeks between each easing of restrictions to assess the impact of changes and to check that it is safe to proceed further using the six conditions for safe easing set out by the World Health Organisation. Under the current timeline, it could mean that from the last week of April we could see a phased but significant re-opening of the economy, including non-essential retail, hospitality and services like gyms and hairdressers.
What work can take place at the moment?
Amongst the limited reasonable reasons to leave your home during the current restrictions are provisions for caring, outdoor exercise and going to work, but only if that work cannot be done from home. FST approached the Scottish Government to confirm how these new rules can be interpreted for the ongoing work of our members and we have been given the following guidance:
- The starting point for all is that if you can work from home, then you must do so. For work that cannot be done at home, then you can travel to do so. You should plan for the minimum number of people needed to operate safely and effectively.
- Travel for work is permitted but you should stay as local as possible and reduce requirements for people to travel, especially for any cross-border journeys outwith your local authority area or Scotland.
- When undertaking any work during the current lockdown relevant industry-specific guidance (see below for links) should be followed at all times, with particular attention to ventilation, physical distancing, hygiene measures and other mitigations.
Performing Arts and Venues sector guidance
Events sector guidance
- Theatres and other performing arts venues must remain closed to the public, but may be used to: record a performance; broadcast a performance to people outside the premises, whether over the internet or as part of a radio or television broadcast; rehearse, train, practise or otherwise prepare for a performance
You can always find the latest UK Government updates can be found here: LINK.
The following COVID-19 financial support is currently available through the UK Government:
- Furlough: The UK Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) will run until 30 April 2021 across the whole of the UK.
- Self Employment Income Support: The UK Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will run until 30 April 2021.
Get in touch
FST continues to liaise with the Scottish Government and Creative Scotland to ensure the diverse needs of our sector are represented and heard. We will continue to update the membership via email, our website and social media as soon as we can ensure that information is accurate.
If you have any questions or enquiries during this time, regarding FST in general or more specifically concerning a particular issue then please email us at email@example.com
Below you can find further news, resources and advice relating to COVID-19.
Throughout the pandemic, The Audience Agency has been undertaking various pieces of research to examine the behaviour of audiences during these times. On the 10 February 2021 they published their most recent piece, Digital Engagement: from the COVID19 Participation Monitor, this report examines audience behaviour and intentions around engagement with digital work. The data pool […]
Lucy Mason, Interim CEO, was invited to give further evidence of the impact of COVID-19 on the performing arts sector on Thursday 28 January to the Scottish Government’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee. The full submission can be read by downloading the resource at the bottom of this page. The Official Report of […]
Creative Scotland has published their Culture, Tourism, Europe & External Affairs Committee update for January 2021. This document offers a very useful overview of Creative Scotland’s Emergency Fund support since March 2020. It also includes information on ongoing funds and initiatives leading into 2021.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission have issued guidance for employers that are facing tough decisions about redundancies during the Covid-19 pandemic. The guidance outlines considerations that should be made in order to ensure complaince with equality law. The guidance is available below: Equality and Human Rights Commission – Redundancies
This report was written by Freelancers Make Theatre Work and includes data gathered from over 90 producing organisations throughout the UK. The purpose of the study was to gather data on the relationship between performing arts organisations and freelance theatre workers.
Anderson Strathearn has updated its Job Retention Scheme (JRS) guidance and information in response to the recent UK Government decision to extend the scheme until March 2021. This article outlines the provisions of the scheme based upon the available information on 11 November 2020, covering the position for claims relating the period up to 31 […]
In October 2020, FST held a training session focused on contracting during the Covid-19 pandemic. During the session, speakers Scott Fyfe, Associate at Anderson Strathern and Callum Smith, Producer at National Theatre of Scotland gave advice and answered specific questions relating to the topic. Available below are resources signposted during the session: Playwrights and Digital […]
The Garfield Weston Foundation has opened its specialist Culture Fund for mid-scale/larger organisations operating within the UK. Organisations must be able to demonstrate a minimum annual income of £500,000 in a pre-COVID year, this cannot include income relating to capital projects.
Solicitors Anderson Strathearn have created a very helpful overview of the recent updates to the Government’s Job Support Scheme. It covers key questions you may have and what you need to know, helping to demystify what can be a confusing process.
Useful reopening guidance put together by Arts Council Northern Ireland. FST members have flagged this as a really clear resource which may be of use to others.
In response to the coronavirus crisis, Theatres Trust have repurposed their small grants schemes to support theatres to cover the additional costs of reopening after several months’ closure. The Theatre Reopening Fund will support building improvements and purchasing equipment that will support the theatre to be able to open viably and safely. It will not […]