After a huge amount of lobbying from the arts community the UK government has announced plans to help fund the UK’s arts, culture and heritage industries with a £1.57billion support package as many venues remain closed for the foreseeable future due to the COVID pandemic.
The package, announced yesterday, will provide much needed support to music venues, independent cinemas, museums, galleries, theatres and heritage sites with emergency grants and loans.
The amount offered by the government is the biggest one-off investment in UK culture and follows other measures taken to help all UK small and medium business, institutions and organisations to hopefully survive during the pandemic. This has included loans, business rate holidays and the furlough job retention scheme. This significant package is not only to help businesses to survive but also to help support employees, including any freelancers working in these sectors.
“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,” Boris Johnson said. “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.
“I said we would not let the arts down and this massive investment shows our level of commitment.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said arts spaces were “the lifeblood of British culture” and that the support package would ensure “that they can continue to provide the sights and sounds that Britain is famous for”.