Philip Pullman and Stephen Fry are among the signatories of an open letter calling on the government to introduce a temporary income protection fund to support freelances through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Organisations representing freelances, including the Creative Industries Federation and the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, are behind the letter.
Trade bodies that have signed the letter include Directors UK, Enterprise Nation, the British Fashion Council, Design Council and the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment.
There is also a petition to support the calls for a fund, which already has more than 4,000 signatures.
The letter calls on the prime minister for an emergency fund that gives a time-limited and targeted cash grant to self-employed businesses and freelances.
Caroline Norbury, chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation, said: “Without the right support, government measures will hit the self-employed the hardest, and not just on their bottom line: on their families and mental health.
“A temporary income guarantee is urgently needed. We need government to make a big, bold and brave move to support these workers, our families and our communities.”
Pullman said: “In this confused and anxious time, those artists, writers, musicians and others who earn a fragile livelihood as self-employed suppliers of delight and consolation should not be forgotten.
“It’s not easy to make a living doing that at the best of times – now the need to support our freelance artists of every kind is urgent and imperative.”
The Federation of Entertainment Unions has also called on the government for an income guarantee for freelances working in the sector.