Plaid Cymru has pledged to introduce a new fund to support freelancers in Wales, if the party is in government following May 6.

The Welsh Freelancers Fund would support up to 1,000 freelancers to work within communities and schools.

The scheme would be backed by a basic income of £1,000 a month for each individual for two years.

Freelancers in the creative and arts sectors have been some of the hardest hit during the pandemic, with venues and outlets for their work closed.

According to the Wales Freelance Taskforce, 94 per cent of theatre and performance freelancers in Wales lost work duuring the pandemic, with 90 per cent losing up to £20,000 worth of earnings as of October last year.

The taskforce also found that, on avarage, women freelancing in the secotor in Wales are paid 25% less than men.

Introducing the plan, Sian Gwenllian, Plaid candidate for Arfon, said the scheme would form part of a wider arts and culture strategy designed to require every department of government to consider cultural matters when forming public policy.

Ms Gwenllian continued: “Individual artists and freelancers are a vital component of the cultural sector – writers, artists, musicians, set designers, to name just a few.

“Often, they are people who make a key contribution to cultural activity at the community level and have borne the brunt of the closures brought about by the pandemic.

“We have all been conscious of the cultural deficit in our lives over the past year – whether missing the football pitch, the concert hall, theatre or festival.

“As the situation improves and creative spaces open up once again, this will inevitably assist freelance workers to get back on their feet, but a Plaid Cymru government would want to reward their contribution with a guaranteed basic income.

“This would not only assist the sector it would also prove beneficial on a community and educational level where culture and the arts offer solace and stimulation, especially for those experiencing mental health challenges.

“Culture has always been at the heart of the Welsh nation and with Plaid Cymru at the helm, it would be at the heart of government too.”

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Plaid Cymru has previously said they would back pilot programmes of a Universal Basic Income, and this move offers somewhat of a commitment to that.

Gwlad, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party have also pledged to back Universal Basic Income schemes.

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