ALD Coronavirus Financial Survival Guide

The latest version of the document is available from this page


It’s unprecedented: our industry has been brought to an abrupt, dramatic stop by the coronavirus and the measures being put in place to help control its spread. Running shows have been suspended. Events have been cancelled. Upcoming theatre shows have been ‘postponed’, though it’s not hard to imagine those postponements quickly becoming cancellations. Those in jobs are suddenly finding themselves without jobs; those who are self-employed, suddenly finding themselves without work.


The important thing: you are not alone. Everyone in our industry is in the same position. Many beyond our industry too.


We thought it might be helpful to pull together a quick ‘financial survival guide’ - things that you can and should do to help see you through these difficult times.


Four important things to note:

- this is information compiled by lighting designers, generally from Government and other publicly available information. While there is some input from professional accountants, it is meant to be a quick guide not a definitive instruction manual. Use this as a quick starting point for your own research. This is particularly the case for anything involving the tax credit/universal credit system.


- this information covers the most general cases but not all cases. Other sources of support may be available, particularly in cases such as those with disabilities.


- in this unprecedented global situation, things are changing quickly. Currently, the situation for self-employed/freelance workers is problematic, but it feels likely that the UK Government will have to recognise this over the coming days. We will attempt to update this guide regularly as the situation develops but do be sure to follow the news for the latest updates. This information is as we understand it on 22nd March 2020.


- the Government is clearly still working on how to actually deliver the help it has promised. Some details are still unclear. Again hopefully greater clarity will arrive in the next few days.


We’ve attempted to divide this up into the three most common employment categories in our industry:

  • those who are “employees” - ie. who work for a company;
  • those who are self-employed but operate as an employee (and also director) of their own limited company;
  • those who are freelance - ie. work for themselves under their own name with no corporate entity around them.



If you’ve never been involved with the Benefits system before, don’t be afraid to get involved now, if you need to. Remember: to some extent this is your money, money you’ve been paying in advance over the years as tax and national insurance. And while it’s great that it is now being offered to help us all, don’t doubt that we’ll all end up having to pay it back, one way or another, when some semblance of normality returns. Take advantage of it now!


Let’s all keep talking to each other, supporting each other along the way - we have the technology to achieve that. Stay safe through all of this.


We’ll attempt to keep this guide updated as the situation develops. If you have information that could usefully be added to it (or spot errors that should be corrected), please do let us know.