Survey bbk berlin: Soforthilfe II / Emergency Aid II and the artists

Press release of the bbk berlin 07.04.2020

The bbk* berlin survey on the Emergency Aid II for self-employed persons in Berlin was answered by a total of 1,744 artists* in three days. More than 60% of the participants came from the fine arts, followed by music (20%), film and media art (15%) and other art forms.

More than 75% of all participants submitted an application for Emergency Aid II to the Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB), of which almost 90% have already received the Corona grant of € 5,000. The fact that this urgently needed help reached many people in a very short time is a success and proves that Berlin politicians have recognized the plight of the city's artists* and have quickly found a remedy in a major show of strength with the help of the IBB. However, the provision of information on how to apply and the conditions for application could have been better.

More than a third of the participants who stated in the survey that they had not submitted an application stated that they lacked information on the emergency aid programme and wanted to be better informed before submitting an application. However, there was not enough time for this. Almost 15% of the non-applicants were still in the queue until the application stop and were therefore no longer able to apply for the country's Emergency Aid II. 20% of them were unable to apply because of technical problems on the IBB website or uncertainties in connection with ALG II benefits.

The results of the survey show that many people facing the existential threat were not given the chance to benefit from the programme. If the crisis continues, 60% of the non-applicants would need the Corona grant to secure their livelihood. This particularly affects people who are not technologically inclined or who are not well networked. Furthermore, it has been shown that artists* who live and work in Berlin but have not yet been able to register or do not yet have a German tax ID need quick and unbureaucratic support!

Just under 4% of all participants have not applied because they do not expect any financial losses from the pandemic or have sufficient reserves. Only 5% of the participants stated that the federal grant, which only covers operating costs, is also a suitable aid for them. More than one third of those who did not apply did not understand the difference between the federal and state programmes. There is a need for clarification here.

We call on the federal government to change the conditions for grants in the federal programme and to abolish the strict limitation to payments for operating expenses, so that freelancers, solo self-employed and entrepreneurs* up to 5 employees can use the grant to pay themselves a salary to secure their own livelihood, which should be a matter of course.

An alternative would be to set up a special fund for the payment of a basic income.

berufsverband bildender künstler*innen berlin (professional association of visual artists berlin)
Zoë Claire Miller and Heidi Sill
Spokeswomen of the bbk berlin