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Almost half of TV workers are struggling financially – and more than a quarter are facing high debt risks, according to a Film and TV Charity survey.

The report, Money Matters, lays bare the extent to which TV workers are far less financially resilient than those working in other sectors.

Some 40% of the 2,026 workers polled – 85% of whom are freelancers - said they could only make ends meet for up to a month if they were out of work, almost double the 22% national average. This rose to half of TV workers with a disability or long-term health condition.

Almost all of those surveyed – 95% - said they had been personally hit by the cost-of-living crisis, with 60% struggling to pay their mortgage or rent, and 62% finding it hard to pay for food and groceries, over the past six months.

On average, 45% of those polled said they are finding it difficult to manage financially, including 20% who said they found it “very” hard.

Freelancers reported that same 45% figure, compared to 30% of people in permanent staff roles.

Among people with a disability or long-term health conditions, and those with caring responsibilities, this rose to 57%.

Those working in film reported greater difficulties than other areas of production, with 60% finding it difficult.

Savings and debt

More than a quarter – 27% - had no cash savings whatsoever, while overall, 42% had less than £1,000 saved – significantly above the 30% national average. Over the past year, 81% reported their savings had decreased.

Worryingly, 29% were in what the FTV&C called “the potentially perilous situation” of not having enough cash savings to pay off their debt.

More than half – 57% - have debt of more than £500, with one in ten more than £20,000 in debt.

More than a third, meanwhile, said they often (23%) and always (11%) ran out of money before the end of the week or month and relied on credit cards and overdrafts to get by.

A further 31% said this ‘sometimes’ happened.


One in four was “very” pessimistic about their financial future, with 71% overall reporting some level of negative outlook.

Nearly half – 48% - expected to have “far too little” work to see them through the next six months, with a further 23% saying they would have “not quite enough”.

The number of people receiving financial grants from the charity more than tripled from 549 in 2022 to 1,768 last year.

The charity highlights that these worries not only raise concerns about the mental health of people working in TV but also exposes a potential brain drain from people considering moving into other industries.

It concludes by expressing its hope that the report “acts as a wake-up call for the sector as a whole in highlighting the very real financial difficulties faced by many in the industry”.

The charity said it plans to “consult with industry partners and others to progress the conversation on these issues and to try and identify support and solutions which help to alleviate some of these issues at source, rather than just dealing with the symptoms”.

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