Future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues will be helped with emergency grants and loans. Funding will also be provided to restart construction work at cultural and heritage sites paused as a result of the pandemic.
A £1.57 billion rescue package to help weather the impact of coronavirus was announced by the government today, but will it be enough to keep our cultural economy going?
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 be able to access emergency grants and loans.
I know our amazing artists and creative organisations will repay the faith that the government has shown – Nicholas Serota
The money, which represents the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture, will provide a lifeline to vital cultural and heritage organisations across the country hit hard by the pandemic. It will help them stay afloat while their doors are closed. Funding to restart paused projects will also help support employment, including freelancers working in these sectors.
Many of Britain’s cultural and heritage institutions have already received unprecedented financial assistance to see them through the pandemic including loans, business rate holidays and participation in the coronavirus job retention scheme. More than 350,000 people in the recreation and leisure sector have been furloughed since the pandemic began.
This new package will be available across the country and ensure the future of these multi billion-pound industries are secured.
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.
The UK’s 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.
The package announced today includes funding for national cultural institutions in England and investment in cultural and heritage sites to restart construction work paused as a result of the pandemic. This will be a big step forward to help rebuild our cultural infrastructure. 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).
Decisions on awards will be made working alongside expert independent figures from the sector including the Arts Council England and other specialist bodies such as Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.
Repayable finance will be issued on generous terms tailored for cultural institutions to ensure they are affordable. Further details will be set out when the scheme opens for applications in the coming weeks.
It is essential that these funds are made available to all areas across the cultural ecosystem, from the subsidised sector to independent contractors, artists, producers, technicians and venue operators. This is an important step towards securing the future of Britain’s cultural life and I’m very grateful to the Secretary of State and his team for their determination and perseverance in bringing this about. We now need to unite to restore audience confidence and work in close partnership with the health authorities to remount British theatre as soon as is ort our next steps to welcoming audiences back to live theatre.
Mark Pemberton, Association of British Orchestras said: The ABO hugely welcomes the announcement of the government’s significant additional investment in the arts. Orchestras and their musicians have been hard-hit by the Covid-19 crisis, from the cancellation of tours to Asia in January, followed by the enforced shutdown of concert halls across the UK in March. With a year of lost income in prospect, this much-needed investment, and the guidance for reopening, will help get orchestras back to work, starting behind closed doors this summer, and on to the point when we can welcome audiences both here and abroad, we hope, later this year.
Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said: We greatly welcome this very significant investment by the government in the future of arts and culture in this country and look forward to working with them on next steps. I know our amazing artists and creative organisations will repay the faith that the government has shown by demonstrating the range of their creativity, by serving their communities and by helping the nation recover as we emerge from the pandemic.