A television producer is one of thousands of freelancers who feel they have “fallen through the cracks” of the government protection schemes during the coronavirus crisis.

Mandy Sherwood, from Bushey, has been campaigning with a producer and director group Viva La PD to represent many workers who received no financial government support during the coronavirus pandemic and are now facing financial strain.

Ms Sherwood, a single parent and freelance TV producer, has faced financial pressure in recent months after production for her various projects came to a halt at the start of the pandemic.

During this time, she sought help from the self-employment income support scheme but was unable to make a claim due to her earning just ever-so-slightly above the £50,000 before tax cap which makes someone eligible.

Normally she earns below the imposed cap but earned slightly above the threshold twice within the past three years, making her unable to claim help from the scheme despite gaining no income during the lockdown.

She said: “As a single parent and freelancer, it can sometimes be difficult when I am earning money, let alone when no money is coming in.”

She believes the cap should be lifted or made fair for self-employed workers, similar to what was offered in the furlough scheme.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been pledging with the rest of the government to provide support for workers and to make sure that people do not fall through the gaps.

But thousands of others in the television and film industry have had similar complications, where due to their earnings and other gaps in support, they were unable to receive any government support.

A film by Viva La PD, highlighting the current issue

Ms Sherwood has been in contact with Hertsmere MP and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden about this issue back in May.

While his response explained he was urging the Chancellor to find some way to help, no change has yet been made for people in the television industry and in her position.

She said: “The industry is thankfully getting back on its feet again, but these last few months means it will take a long time for freelancers to recover from those lost wages.”

James Taylor, a spokesperson from Viva La PD, says that he has spent at least four months without work due to the lockdown.

The Viva La PD group surveyed almost 1,000 freelancers within the industry and found 55 per cent of workers were unable to receive government help during the pandemic.

The survey found that nearly 100 respondents were selling their specialist production equipment or personal belongings to pay for basic bills and essential purchases.

Mr Taylor explained that while filming can now continue, there is an issue with production teams finding production insurance due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.

He said that as it is unclear if a second lockdown could take place, it is difficult to get insurance to resume production.

He said: “I’d rather get everyone out there working again, we’d rather be out there earning like we normally do. But due to the insurance issue it will be quite difficult to get it up and running again.”

Data from Ofcom shows 32,000 people within the television industry works as freelancers, and Mr Taylor believes that nearly half of these freelancers are currently not getting any income.

He continued: “What we want ideally is something that backdates the coverings. It does not have to be the self-employed scheme if the cap cannot get lifted, but I would like to see an industry specific scheme for television.

“If the government want the economy to get up and running, either help people out or become the insurer of last resort.”

He believes that the government “doesn’t understand” how the industry actually works.

Mr Dowden said: “I absolutely understand the level of disruption which Covid-19 has caused to the TV industry and how important the industry is locally and nationally.

“I am pleased that we have been able to support the TV industry and the furlough and self-employed schemes have helped to protect the incomes of tens of thousands of people who work in it.

“However, the Chancellor has been clear that we have not been able to help everyone in the way they would have liked and of course I understand the frustration those just above the £50,000 threshold will feel.

“It is clear though the best way we can help the TV industry is to get the cameras rolling again and I am working with broadcasters so this can be done safely and as soon as possible.”