Public service broadcasters have written to the Chancellor requesting support for freelancers working in the media industry.

Bosses at the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and S4C urged the Government to “work with” them to find a solution that gives the workers access to “a level of income protection” and statutory sick pay.

The letter called film and television production a “vital and growing area” of the UK economy.

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BBC director-general Tony Hall was one of those who signed the letter (David Parry/PA)

Half of those employed in screen production are freelancers “so it is true to say that the global success and reputation of the UK creative industries depends on them”, it added.

The letter said: “The very nature of the freelance community is that they do not have a single anchor employer; they work for the industry as a whole across TV and film, which makes them particularly vulnerable in current circumstances and therefore worthy of Government support.”

It added: “We are willing to engage with the Government to help you identify a package of measures that would provide for a level of income protection and access to statutory sick pay for the freelance community in our industry as a matter of urgency.”

The letter was sent to the Chancellor (Matt Dunham/PA)

The letter was signed by BBC director-general Tony Hall, ITV CEO Carolyn McCall, Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon, Viacom CBS Networks International president of UK and Australia Maria Kyriacou and S4C CEO Owen Evans.