The Artistic Director of Graeae theatre company, Jenny Sealey, who is Deaf, has written a blog for the Guardian about the effect of Access to Work cuts on both her work and the work of Graeae.
In the article she explains how her work has been limited by a lack of sign language support, and says that the cuts risk making Deaf and disabled artists invisible.
For the last 16 months, my theatre company, Graeae, has been battling against cuts to the Access to Work (ATW) scheme and its new proposed framework. The cuts to the scheme, and these changes, will make life extremely hard for freelance deaf artists in particular. Not only are they being penalised for paying class 2 national insurance, but they may also have to manage a budget cap of £40,800 per year. That may sound great, but in reality it means that should they be lucky and have a good run of work, they may then find that they can’t accept any more work for the rest of the year because their allowance has run out and they can’t afford to cover the cost of their sign language interpreters. If the theatre companies they are working for can’t afford to cover these costs, the deaf artists won’t be able to accept work. So not only are these artists (and the sign language interpreters) out of work but theatres will be less likely to employ deaf and disabled people because we come with a massive pound sign over our heads.
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