By Harry Mottram: One of the failures of the Covid loans for business was freelancers were not included. It meant that some 2.5 millions workers – many linked to the printing and allied trades – didn’t get a penny. While criminals and fraudsters claimed billions in loans which they have managed to avoid repaying according to Government statistics. There are many people who work as freelancers in the print trade such as designers, graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, models, journalists, feature writers and exhibition and trade show freelancer staff to name but a few.

A news item in the 12th April 2024 edition of Private Eye revealed how some freelancers wait months and even years to be paid. In an eye-opening article it reported: “As Eye 1612 reported last year, many writers were excited when Rolling Stone, a British offshoot of the legendary US title launched here two years ago. But one journalist still hadn’t been reimbursed a year after writing a cover feature, and a freelancer told the Eye it was the ‘the worst experience they’d ever had’ getting remuneration. Things don’t seem to have improved. Last month Simon Bland wrote online that he’d still not been paid after invoicing Rolling Stone in early December for an interview with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.”

He said he was forced to use the small claims court while other journalists working from the publication waited much longer when the standard wait is 30 days from date of invoice. Other contributors also complained of long waits with the publication’s accounts department ignoring emails and phone calls requesting invoices to be paid.

In the article the gay magazine Attitude appears to have the same failure when it comes to paying contributors what they are owed. Private Eye reported: “One journalist said she’d been chasing the title to pay her she wrote in 2022, and only got the cash out of the blue in mid-March after social media posts, legal letters, invoices with interest added, and threats of small claims court.”

Late payment by newspapers and magazines is a perennial problem – in the past I’ve had to wait several months for payment from groups which caused me huge financial problems at the time – so I can sympathise with the journalists involved.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said that the credit intelligence group had many freelancers as members who used the free legal letter service they have. He said: “It is a case of a publication deciding to halt payments to those who are the weakest in demanding payment. They know that for a typical invoice of a couple of hundred pounds the contributor would prefer not to take the case to court as it could cost more than it’s worth in the long term. And there is the fear that a contributor will be seen as a troublemaker and won’t get any more work. Plus of course there’s the sleepless nights and the mental toll it takes for the person trying to get paid. ICSM also has the micro debt service which means you can chase up an invoice of up to £500 which may be unpaid over a couple of years.”



For information on ICSM visit or call 0844 854 1850.
ICSM, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR. Tel: 0844 854 1850.