Curtain goes up on £1.57billion package for arts and culture
By Rob Freeman | 6th July 2020
Cultural venues across the UK are to receive £1.57billion in support from the Government to help them weather the ongoing impact of closure during the coronavirus pandemic.
Cheltenham's Everyman Theatre and Gloucester Guildhall are among local venues which have added their voices to calls from across the arts for help in recent weeks.
Several theatres have announced job losses and closures while the Royal Albert Hall and Royal Opera House are among major venues which said they feared closure.
Theatres, live music venues, galleries and museums have stood empty since lockdown restrictions were introduced in March with social distancing placing question marks over when they can reopen.
The Government described the package as the "biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture" while Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the money "will help safeguard the sector for future generations".
Caroline Norbury, chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation and Creative England, said: "This unprecedented £1.57 billion investment is a seismic step forward.
"Our creative industries are teetering on the brink of cultural collapse - and this could be the game changer we need.
"This investment acknowledges the mission critical role that the UK's creative industries will play in recovery and growth in all parts of the country."
She continued: "While this support will rescue many, so much has changed during the pandemic; there won't necessarily be an easy return to normal.
"There will be so much more to do to ensure that our world-beating creative sector can thrive once more and as we move forwards through the challenging days and months ahead it will be crucial that the creative industries work together to reimagine all of our futures."
The package includes £1.15billion in support for cultural organisations in England made up of £880million in grants and £270million in repayable loans.
There is a further £100million for national cultural institutions in England and the English Heritage Trust which an addition £120million to restart construction on cultural and heritage projects put on hold due to the pandemic.
Further funding will be given to the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland with funding decisions made by what the Government describes as "expert independent figures".
Among those welcoming the announcement, Music Venue Trust chief executive Mark David said: "This fund provides the opportunity to stabilise and protect our vibrant and vital network of venues and gives us the time we need to create a plan to safely reopen live music."
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