Emergency £1.57bn bailout for arts and culture sector announced

A £1.57 billion support package to “protect” the future of Britain’s museums, galleries and theatres, has been announced by the UK government.

Independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues are also eligible for the emergency grants and loans.

The Government said: “Repayable finance (for the loans) will be issued on generous terms tailored for cultural institutions to ensure they are affordable.”

Arts Council England, the Royal Opera House, the Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre, and the Music Venue Trust were among those to welcome the funding.

The package comes after some theatres – which are not yet able to stage live performances – closed down, making staff redundant, while museums also said they face an uncertain future.

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.”



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The £1.15 billion support package for cultural organisations in England will be made up of £270 million of repayable finance and £880 million of grants. The funding also includes money for the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland (£33 million), Scotland (£97 million) and Wales (£59 million).

Julian Bird, chief executive of the Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre, said it “hugely welcomed” the funding.

“Venues, producers and the huge workforce in the theatre sector look forward to clarity of how these funds will be allocated and invested, so that artists and organisations can get back to work as soon as possible,” he said.

Jon Morgan, director of The Theatres Trust, said theatres were among the hardest industries during the pandemic and remain at risk while social distancing measures are in place.

He said more detail was needed about how the money would be allocated across the different areas to fully assess its benefit, adding: “We would hope that a significant proportion will be reserved for the performing arts.”

National Theatre director Rufus Norris said there would be “many challenges ahead” for the industry, but added that theatre companies across the country “stand ready to respond with creativity and commitment, and to reopen as soon as is safe”.

The funding was also welcomed by composer Lord Lloyd-Webber, who said the news was “truly welcome at a time when so many theatres, orchestras, entertainment venues and other arts organisations face such a bleak future”.

The Tate, the Science Museum Group, the Natural History Museum, National Gallery and the Royal Shakespeare Company were among those who also welcomed the funding.

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