Theatre News: Government Announces £1.57b Support Package For The Arts

Yesterday, the UK government revealed that a support package of £1.57 billion has been planned to fund the arts, culture and heritage industries to help them “weather the impact of the Coronavirus”.

Emergency loans and grants will be given to theatres, museums, galleries, music venues, independent cinemas and heritage sites across the UK, in a move which marks the biggest one-off investment in UK culture, and follows similar measures taken by the government to combat the financial effects of the Coronavirus.

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said that the money “will help safeguard the sector for future generations, ensuring arts groups and venues across the UK can stay afloat”.

There will be a £1.15 billion “support pot” for cultural organisations in England, comprised of £880 million worth of grants, and £270 million of repayable finance.

The funding includes £100 million for English cultural institutions and the English Heritage Trust, as well as £120 million of capital investment to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and heritage construction projects in England, which was halted due to the pandemic.

A total of £189 million is also promised to fund the devolved administrations, with Scotland receiving £97 million, Wales £59 million and Northern Ireland £33 million.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, announced the emergency package: “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.”

Further details about the package are expected in the upcoming weeks, as “[e]xpert independent figures” from the arts sector will help the government decide on who the money should be awarded to.

Joint CEOs of The National Theatre, Rufus Norris and Lisa Burger, stated: “We feel very positive that this major investment will reach and sustain the vital talent and infrastructure- both organisations and freelancers- which make British theatre truly world-leading.”

The funding follows several weeks of pressure, with industry leaders warning that many venues were on the brink of collapse.

Words by Aimee Seddon.

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