Open Letter to the Chancellor regarding artists studios – 16 April 2020

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

Chancellor letter studio rents

Zita Holbourne & Martin Sundram
Joint National Chairs
Artists’ Union England (AUE)
Old Bakery
Carlow Street


16th April 2020

Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP
Chancellor of the Exchequer
HM Treasury
1 Horse Guards Road
SW1A 2HQDear Chancellor,
We wish to draw your attention to the problems experienced by artists renting studios during the Covid crisis.
Though a few exceptional artists are very financially successful, in the UK, the vast majority of artists earn relatively little, often having to take on second jobs to survive. While the creative sector in the UK represents an important part of the economy, individual artists earn on average less than £10,000 a year.
Particularly hard hit at present are artists who cannot, because of the lockdown measures, access the studios they rent to work in. Many artists who are self-employed will not get help because they earn too little or because they have only recently become self-employed. Many artists who are forced to take on two or three different jobs may have seen many of those disappear, as they are zero hours contracts.
As a result of the pandemic, all artists will be hit by loss of income, and many will suffer severe hardship. At the same time, they are still expected to pay studio rent. Their only other choice is to give up their tenancies. However, if most artists are forced to give notice, then the studios themselves will face financial ruin.
It is for this reason that Artists’ Union England (AUE) is asking you and your Government to give all managers/owners of artist studios an urgent assurance that the Government will make available grants in order to allow for an immediate freeze on studio rent collection until the lockdown is over and it is once again safe for artists to return to their studios.
A recent survey conducted by AUE found that there were a range of different managers/owner models across the country, the largest type of which are small charity organisations. In many cases, charity costs do not include the payment of business rates, and so they would not benefit from the recently announced Government business loan subsidy, or business rate relief grants.
The second largest group of managers and studio owners are private companies and private individuals, neither of which can afford to give rent holidays.
For all of the above reasons we are asking that you to make funds available so managers and owners of studio complexes can apply to get a sum of money to cover the period of lockdown.

Zita Holbourne.                                                             Martin Sundram

Joint Chair Artist Union England                                Joint Chair Artist Union England


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