Thousands of organisations across a range of sectors, including the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will benefit from access to emergency grants and loans, after the Government made a £1.57 billion package available to invest in UK culture.
The funding will provide a lifeline to vital cultural and heritage organisations across the country hit hard by the pandemic, ensuring they stay afloat and protecting multi-billion pound industries that are famous around the world for the future.
This builds on the unprecedented financial assistance the Government has already provided to the UK’s cultural sector through the pandemic, with loans, business rates relief and furlough support. More than 350,000 people in the recreation and leisure sector have been furloughed since the pandemic began.
Alex Burghart, MP for Brentwood and Ongar, welcomed the announcement:
“Today’s announcement is fantastic news for the Brentwood and Ongar constituency and and will provide a vital lifeline to cultural and arts institutions across Essex. We have one small community theatre in Brentwood but the love of the arts, be it am drams or professional, is strong. The Brentwood Centre has hosted community shows which have brought together amateur performers with professionals to great acclaim. Hundreds of my constituents work in the performing arts industry, be it on stage or behind the scenes. Thousands of us travel further afield to regional theatres in Chelmsford, Southend, Hornchurch and Colchester to see shows, as well as getting the train to the West End to enjoy world-class drama, ballet, opera and musicals.
“This will not only secure local jobs, but mean iconic venues can weather the storm created by coronavirus and come back stronger, and continue to be there for local residents and future generations to enjoy.”
Commenting, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“From iconic theatre and musicals, mesmerising exhibitions at our world-class galleries to gigs performed in local basement venues, the UK’s cultural industry is the beating heart of this country.
“This money will help safeguard the sector for future generations, ensuring arts groups and venues across the UK can stay afloat and support their staff whilst their doors remain closed and curtains remain down”
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden added:
“Our arts and culture are the soul of our nation. They make our country great and are the lynchpin of our world-beating and fast growing creative industries.
“I understand the grave challenges the arts face and we must protect and preserve all we can for future generations. Today we are announcing a huge support package of immediate funding to tackle the funding crisis they face. I said we would not let the arts down, and this massive investment shows our level of commitment.”
The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:
"Our world-renowned galleries, museums, heritage sites, music venues and independent cinemas are not only critical to keeping our economy thriving, employing more than 700,000 people, they’re the lifeblood of British culture.
“That’s why we’re giving them the vital cash they need to safeguard their survival, helping to protect jobs and ensuring that they can continue to provide the sights and sounds that Britain is famous for.”
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Notes to Editors
- The government is providing a £1.57 billion rescue package for Britain’s globally renowned arts, culture and heritage industries. This is the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture. (DCMS, Press Release, 5 July 2020, link).
- This unprecedented package includes:
- £1.15 billion support pot for cultural organisations in England delivered through a mix of grants and loans. This will be made up of £270 million of repayable finance and £880 million grants.
- £100 million of targeted support for the national cultural institutions in England and the English Heritage Trust.
- £120 million capital investment to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England which was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- The new funding will also mean an extra £188 million for the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland (£33 million), Scotland (£97 million) and Wales (£59 million).
- Culture leaders have welcomed the financial package. This is the largest one of investment in UK culture, and the move has been praised by leaders from the sector (The Times, 6 July 2020, link).
- Alex Beard, the chief executive of the Royal Opera House, said that organisations could now look forward to the future and that the rescue package would be “a catalyst for unlocking the [sector’s] extraordinary creativity”.
- The playwright James Graham said that after a “nerve-racking and nail-biting few weeks . . . the scale and ambition of this package is incredibly welcome . . . and a huge vote of confidence by this government in the country’s cultural life”
- Caroline Norbury, chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation, said that while there would not be an “easy return to normal” it was encouraging that the government had “full confidence in our creative industries and arts sector and the instrumental role they can play in helping the country come back together and reset”.