Coronavirus hits the creative sector: which are the aids available at national level?

The present crisis is unprecedented. It will hit all countries across all sectors. Book publishing and the media industry will be affected. Advertising revenues and assignments are likely to go down. The picture industry is predominantly made up of small to micro enterprises and self-employed photographers who will struggle for the duration of the crisis. This article looks at the State aid made available within the EU, ranging, at the time of writting this article, from € 300 million (Luxembourg) to €1,100 billion (Germany) to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

As a preliminary, it should be remembered that economic policies are largely in the hands of national governments. They decide how to support a struggling economy: whether to defer taxes, subsidise lending to companies, increase sick pay, establish schemes to keep workers on the payroll etc.. And they will have to foot the bill for these measures. 

At national level only a couple of States have announced measures specifically directed at the creative industries: France, Germany, the UK, Sweden.

In general most States rely on general measures that target small businesses, staff and self-employed.  

Small businesses and start-ups

Most national governments have announced sweeping measures to support the economy and small businesses in particular. All EU member States have announced cash-flow support schemes in the form of credit protection or liquidity guarantees and commitments, zero-interest loans, rescheduling of loans or deferrals of tax and social security, speedy VAT recovery, even remittance of any fines (Czech Republic) … Sometimes measures are tailored specifically for start-ups. 

Short-time work schemes exist almost in all EU countries. National governments have either introduced emergency plans (Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Denmark …) or extended them and simplified application (France, Germany, UK) to support workers affected by the coronavirus COVID-19 and the containment measures adopted across the continent.

In some countries, companies are facilitated to enable remote work. In Spain, various support measures are available to SMEs to promote their adaptation to the digital environment through the Acelera program (here). 

Direct financial support to SMEs remains in the minority and will generally target industries such as tourism and travel. However, France and Germany have announced schemes that specifically address”small businesses in difficulty” conditioned that their turnover is significantly down. 

Self-employed

Aforementionned schemes work for freelancers too.

Cash-flow measures designed for small and micro businesses may support self-employed as well. In addition they may additional funding to bridge the next two months.

In Germany, small businesses and self-employed find immediate support with a grant for a three-month period up to € 9.000, – . 

In France, a “solidarity fund” was set up targetting micro entreprises with a loss > 50% of their turnover in March. The grant amounts to € 1.500.

In the UK up to 95% of self-employed will be awarded a taxable grant amounting to the taxable profit of the last three years here

What else in the visual sector?

Many private initiatives have been launched.

CEPIC member BLF is applying for funding for a project that would allow photographers to work rather than receive grants.

A limited number of authors societies have also announced measures for individual creators:

ADAGP in France here

BILDRECHT in Austria here

KUVASTO in Finland here

BILDKUNST in Germany here

GESAC mapped the efforts done by Authors Societies (mostly in the music sector) here

Useful links [Please help us grow this database]

France here

Germany here

Spain here and here

Sweden 

Switzerland here

United Kingdom here

Comment: Cash-flow support in the form of loans have to be repaid, even if they are guaranteed by the State i.e. national banks. These are debts that have been contracted without any fault and prevent future productive investments. Another unwelcome development is the disparity of the support between States: Germany is pouring three times as much money as France into the economic machine, and 10 times as other EU member States. European coordinated Response is needed (sf)