CIPR calls for government support for freelancers as research shows half have lost over 60% of income

A new study shows that half of PR freelancers have already lost 60% or more of their income. The research, shared with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) to inform the industry response to Covid-19 and to lobby the Chancellor to re-think his support for the freelancer sector, reveals that most will receive no help from the Covid-19 measures despite the immediate and significant impact on their incomes.

The study by freelancer matchmaker service, The PR Cavalry, and market researchers, Intuit Research, has collected 226 responses and shows the impact of Covid-19 is already having an effect on freelancer incomes; 33% of respondents have seen 80% or more of income disappear and a further 18% have seen income fall by between 60 and 80%.

The support package announced last week by the Chancellor fails to protect two-thirds of freelancers, mainly because around half operate - often at the request of public sector clients or on the advice of accountants - as a limited company. An additional 16% are as yet not certain whether they are eligible for support.

The research also shows:

  • Six in 10 freelancers are the main household earner
  • Almost half have limited companies so get no support
  • Half are considering leaving freelancing altogether
  • Around one-third of those excluded miss out because they have not yet filed a self-employed tax return
  • Until Covid-19 almost half were forecasting income growth of 10% or more this year


Dominic Ridley-Moy, CIPR MCIPR, Dip CIPR, CIPR Independent Practitioners Network
I want to thank The PR Cavalry and Intuit Research for their efforts. Their research provides a worrying snapshot of hard-working professionals fearing for their livelihoods and without the financial support the Chancellor committed to in his budget when he promised he would do “whatever it takes”. Too many are falling between the gaps in the package of support that has been announced. We wrote to the Chancellor last week with these concerns and we will continue to lobby on behalf of our freelance community with this research.
Dominic Ridley-Moy, CIPR MCIPR, Dip CIPR, CIPR Independent Practitioners Network
Nigel Sarbutts, Founder The PR Cavalry
This research clearly shows us what many have been concerned about since the Chancellor announced his package of measures. They fall very short of addressing what is happening to incomes today and will continue to affect thousands of PR professionals for months. I would like to thank the CIPR for supporting this work and working with us to represent the profession on this important issue.
Nigel Sarbutts, Founder The PR Cavalry
Stephen Yap, Director Intuit Research
The speed of impact is bewildering and the hope has to be that the recovery will not be as slow as it was after the credit crunch. I hope this research can play a part in making that happen and protecting the work and livelihoods of many in our profession. The research remains open and we would welcome as many responses as we can get.
Stephen Yap, Director Intuit Research
  • Take the survey here.
  • A summary of the findings can be found here.

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)

Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas. The CIPR is the largest membership organisation for PR practitioners outside of North America. By size of turnover and number of individually registered members, we are the leading representative body for the PR profession and industry in Europe.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).