Arts Council England has released a statement outlining support for the arts during the COVID 19 crisis. In a statement released today (Sunday 15 March) the organisation is spearheading a programme of support. “Our number one priority for the next three months is to support people who work in the arts, museums and libraries. We want as strong a sector as possible as we come out the other side of this crisis.”
We advise everyone that it would be prudent to prepare and consider adjustments to your business plans
The government announced on Thursday 12 March, that we have now moved from the “containment” stage of dealing with Coronavirus to the “delay” stage. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also confirmed official pandemic status for Coronavirus. As of Sunday 15 March, we, the Arts Council, have announced more detail on the support we will be offering to people and organisations across the arts, museums and libraries. That information can be found below.
Although government guidance may change in the future, the advice now is that it’s business as usual. As of the update time above, there are no government ordered bans on live events, sporting or music events, public meetings or any other gatherings.
The government’s action plan for Coronavirus (published 3 March 2020) has more information about the stages we’re moving through. Population distancing strategies such as school closures, encouraging more home working and reducing the number of large-scale gatherings in order to slow the spread of the disease may be used in the future.
Plan and prepare Advice from Arts Council
The government has now raised the risk rating from Coronavirus in the UK to high. We advise everyone that it would be prudent to prepare and consider adjustments to your business plans in the event that the actions noted above are taken. Consider the level of disruption that might be caused. If you are a public facing venue you may have to close for a period of time, cancel planned events or take action if staff are taken ill.
Arts Council support
Our number one priority for the next three months is to support people who work in the arts, museums and libraries. We want as strong a sector as possible as we come out the other side of this crisis.
Here are our first steps to help people working as artists, freelancers and in publicly funded cultural organisations: We will refocus some grant programmes to help compensate individual artists and freelancers for lost earnings. This will require further planning. It may take about 10 days before we can announce the details.
National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) and Creative People and Places (CPPs) will continue to receive funding but funding conditions will not apply for at least three months with immediate effect. We can also advance grant payments to assist with cashflow. For NPOs and CPPs, the priority is staying in business. In exchange for our support we ask them to honour contracts agreed with freelancers and artists and to think about what help they can offer their communities.
This is just the start. We are collecting intelligence from across the sector so we can understand what is needed and we are in constant conversation with colleagues at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport about the short and long-term financial implications.
Government’s 2020-21 Budget Announcement
The government announced its budget for 2020-21 on Wednesday 12 March. This included a pledge of £12 billion worth of support for public services, individuals and businesses that may experience economic disruption due to Coronavirus. This includes business rates retail discounts, a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and statutory sick pay refunds for organisations with fewer than 250 employees. More information on this can be found on this fact sheet.
Keeping in touch
If you are a National Portfolio Organisation, Creative People and Places project or Music Education Hub then please contact your Relationship Manager if you have a specific question or concern about your organisation and the effects of the Coronavirus.
We have also set up a central email address for all other queries. Please contact us at: Coronavirusfirstname.lastname@example.org
We will be collating all queries on a central basis. This will make it easier for us to feedback to DCMS about whether our sector requires further guidance.
ACE will keep our website updated as and when guidance and information changes.
Top Photo: Nicholas Serota Chair of Arts Council England Photo: P C Robinson Artlyst © 2020