Financial Support for artists during the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Anita Clark on 29.03.20

Many in our community are facing significant financial stress as work is cancelled and future commitments unclear. Here is summary of some of the support that is available and links to further information:

 UK Government’s Self Employment Income Support scheme

Announced 26 March, this scheme will support self-employed individuals who have lost income due to coronavirus. The scheme will allow those eligible to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum value of £2500, each month for the next three months. It is currently expected that this won’t be up and running until June 2020.

There is a useful summary of eligibility for this scheme on the Federation of Small Businesses website.

If you haven’t already submitted an Income Tax-Self Assessment tax return for 2018-19 you must do this by 23 April 2020.  Otherwise, there is nothing you can do at the moment. HMRC will use existing information to check eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational and pay the grant directly to eligible claimants’ bank accounts. Grants should start to be paid out in June 2020 for the three months to June 2020.

If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to 31 January 2021. This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.


Scottish Government's Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund

The Newly Self-Employed Hardship fund has also now opened and is specifically targeted at those who became self-employed on or after 6 April 2019 & therefore aren't eligible for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme.


Scottish Governemnet Creative or Tourism and Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund

This fund is designed for companies that are ineligible for other COVID-19 grant support or are not yet in receipt of the funds they need to survive.


Creative Scotland new Bridging Bursary Fund and The Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development 

Creative Scotland has launched three new funding programmes designed to provide further support to sustain the country’s creative community during the COVID-19 outbreak:

A Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary Fund will help sustain creative practice by freelance creative professionals who have lost earnings due to the cancelation of work as a result of COVID-19.

A parallel Screen Scotland Bridging Bursary Fund will provide similar one-off bursary support to self-employed screen sector workers

The Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development will provide support for individuals and organisations to sustain their creative development in the coming months.


Universal Credit

If you are not eligible for the Self-employment Income support scheme, you should be able to claim Universal Credit for financial support while not working,

The Equity website has detailed information on the benefits that you may be able to claim.


Support for Performing Arts Professionals

This website is a round up of resources and charities able to support individuals in the performing arts through the current crisis.


Scottish Welfare Fund

These are grants available to those who are on low incomes and struggling with rent or living costs - distributed through local authorities.


Enterprise Relief Fund from The Prince's Trust

The £5million Enterprise Relief Fund will offer grants to 18 to 30-year olds across the UK who are self-employed and/or running their own business.


Please see links to additional resources we have been pulling togther:

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