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A petition challenging the Chancellor’s claims of a booming UK production sector and urging the government to address the freelancer “brain drain” has attracted more than 4,000 signatures.

Posted on by Producer and Editor Dominic Pisani, who has worked on the likes of Dinner Date, Don’t Look Down and The Only Way is Essex, the petition takes issue with Jeremy Hunt’s comments about the creative sector in his Budget statement last week.

Introducing tax breaks for low-budget feature films and VFX and financial support for a new studio in the North East, Hunt said: “We have become Europe’s largest film and TV production centre, at the current rate of expansion, we will be second only to Hollywood globally by the end for 2025.”

The petition claims that Hunt is ignoring unscripted TV, which it claims is “on its knees with thousands of TV workers, at all levels, unable to secure work over the past 12 months and still out of work today”.

Highlighting the cost-of-living crisis, falling ad revenues, last year’s strikes in the US, a commissioning slowdown and the recent closure of RDF TV, the petition calls on Hunt to tackle the impact of current economic pressures on the TV workforce.

“There is a mass brain drain taking place with TV workers unable to 'survive until 2025' and therefore leaving the industry in their droves to seek stable employment elsewhere, simply to feed their families.”

The petition calls on the government to acknowledge and address the crisis by working with the freelance community, production companies and broadcasters to look at solutions such as bursary schemes and new commissioning models to “save this once world-leading industry before it’s too late”.

Editor Rashid Davari (Little Trains and Big Names with Pete Waterman; Coastal Defenders) has also been helping publicise the campaign.

Dominic Pisani said that as well as signatures, the organisers had received “hundreds of quite harrowing but very important comments”, plus more than £700 in donations to publicise the petition.

The ambition is to get to at least 5,000 signatures, to create sufficient groundswell of support to pressure the government into responding.

Sign the petition here

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