Supporting the industry amid the impact of COVID-19

17 March 2020

UK Screen Alliance in partnership with Animation UK are working to support businesses in our represented sectors in the screen industry affected by COVID-19 coronavirus.

The UK Screen Alliance and Animation UK team are working remotely and avoiding any non-essential travel. Therefore, any external meetings will be conducted via phone or online. Please be assured that we are still available to provide support, and you can still contact us during usual work hours.

UK Screen Alliance in partnership with Animation UK works to proactively highlight and provide credible information on issues that arise for our members and the sectors we represent. We aim to ensure the UK screen industry is better represented, protected, and maintains its internationally renowned status. We have issued a statement on the impact of COVID-19 for the VFX, animation, and post-production sectors, and the almost total sudden stop of global film and TV production.

UK Screen Alliance is a part of the BFI Screen Sector Task Force working on COVID-19 recovery, providing the voice for post, VFX and Animation in that forum. We are also part of the British Film Commissions Recovery Group.

UK Screen Alliance have provided this resource listing vital information on the Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), directly relating to VFX, animation, and post production businesses. It is our hope that this resource provides some clarity in these trying times.

GUIDANCE FOR RETURNING TO WORK

Various guides have been published to help direct the UK screen industry on how they might safely return to work during the COVID-19 Pandemic:

  • Post-Production & VFX: UK Screen Alliance, in consultation with companies from the post and VFX sectors and industry bodies BFI, BFC, Pact and BECTU have published Guidance for safe working in Visual Effects and Post-Production during the Pandemic.
  • Film & HETV Production: The British Film Commission (BFC) has put together a set of protocols for inward investment film and TV production, to ensure the sector can restart scripted production as soon as the Government’s COVID-19 lockdown measures are eased.
  • Television Production: ITV, BBC, Sky, Channel 4, Channel 5, STV, ITN, the Association for Commercial Broadcasters and On-Demand Services (COBA) and Pact have joined forces to introduce guidelines for producing television safely.
  • Pre-Production & Live-Action Film Production: And the Advertising Producers Association (APA) has published their Shooting Guidelines to help production companies to take steps to safeguard the health and safety of everyone attending a film shoot and to meet their obligations under the Health and Safety Act, and law, and Government regulations on COVID-19.

LATEST GOVERNMENT MEASURES:

Businesses

  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides financial support to smaller businesses (SMEs) across the UK that are losing revenue, and seeing their cash-flow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Find out more.
  • The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) provides finance to mid-sized and larger UK businesses with a group turnover of more than £45m (the upper limit for the existing smaller-business focused CBILS) that are suffering disruption to their cash-flow due to lost or deferred revenues during the Covid-19 outbreak. Find out more.
  • The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) provides financial support to businesses across the UK that are losing revenue, and seeing their cash-flow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and that can benefit from £50,000 or less in finance. Find out more.
  • The Future Fund issues convertible loans to innovative UK companies with good potential, that typically rely on equity investment and are currently affected by Covid-19. Find out more.
  • COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility where the Bank of England will buy short-term debt from larger companies. Find out more.
  • VAT Deferral for 3 months for businesses. Find out more.
  • Guidance on government changes to apprenticeships – New guidance and a video has been issued setting out support to help apprentices continue and complete their apprenticeships and which also confirms that furloughed apprentices can continue with their apprenticeship training. Find out more.
  • Information on the wider package of government support for UK businesses and employees at the Government’s Business Support website.

Workers

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary by putting them on furlough. Find out more.
  • Statutory Sick Pay Rebate to allow small and medium-sized businesses to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay paid for staff absence due to coronavirus. Find out more.
  • Relaxed Rules on carrying over annual leave – Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next 2 leave years. Find out more.

Self-employed

  • Time to Pay – all businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time to Pay Service. Find out more.
  • Income Tax Deferral for the Self-Employed under the Self-Assessment System until January 2021. Find out more.
  • Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced details of a package of support for the self-employed, although it will not cover those who have trading profits more than £50,000. Find out more.

CREATIVE/SCREEN INDUSTRY INFORMATION

The Creative Industries Federation – The CIF have collated advice from across the sector to provide guidance to those in the creative industries who are affected by the Coronavirus and its fallout, including the self-employed. 

Arts Council England resource – The Arts Council England emergency planning covers all their funding streams including those that support individuals, small organisations who receive project funding, Music Education Hubs, Creative People and Places (CPP), and National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs).

The Film and TV Charity Helpline – The team can offer a listening ear and to help you to think through your options. The Film and TV Charity also offer support grants to help if you’re experiencing significant financial difficulties, with consideration of their financial advice.

British Film Institute – The BFI is providing updates and urging practitioners across the industry and cultural sector to contact them with their key concerns, using the covid-19.queries@bfi.org.uk email address, as well as via their Q&A page answering questions from the screen industry.

ScreenSkills – The main industry skills body ScreenSkills has a number of e-learning and online training opportunities.

Creative Scotland – The body is providing advice and guidance on funding support, and regular updates on the Scottish government’s support and measures taken to lessen professional impacts for artists, practitioners and organisations arising from COVID-19.

Screen Scotland – The support body is working closely with colleagues at the Scottish Government and others to advocate for specific interventions to support the screen sector through this outbreak.

Wiggin LLP Advice – The law firm focusing exclusively on media, technology and intellectual property, has advice to offer clients on the employment law implications of COVID-19, and points of notice for Film and TV businesses.

Free FX Health check – Foreign exchange (FX) specialists Global Reach are offering a free, no obligation “FX health check” to see how Global Reach can help your business throughout this pandemic.

GOVERNMENT ADVICE/RESOURCES

Department of Work and Pensions – A range of extra support and measures will be in place to help workers, benefit claimants and businesses affected by coronavirus.

Department of Health – The overall government resource from the Department of Health and Social Care, and Publich Health England. Find out how to protect yourself or check if you need medical help on the NHS website, and view guidance for employers and businesses.

GOV.UK – Find out the number of cases and risk level in the UK, what to do if you have symptoms, and what the government is doing about the virus.

NHS – The National Health Service’s source for an overview of Coronavirus, and stay at home advice.

World Health Organisation – The World Health Organisation (WHO) updates and advice on the ongoing developments in findings on the coronavirus, providing country and technical guidance.

KEY NEWS OUTLETS:

BBC Coverage

Animation magazine coverage

Animation World news

Broadcastnow coverage

TVBEurope coverage

ScreenDaily coverage

Animation UK SPONSORS