Government reveals £1.57bn for arts venues

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Welcome news: the Government will outline details of a £1.57bn support package for arts venues and cultural organisations shortly (pictured: the Smoke & Mirrors theatre pub)
Welcome news: the Government will outline details of a £1.57bn support package for arts venues and cultural organisations shortly (pictured: the Smoke & Mirrors theatre pub)

Related tags: Coronavirus

The Government has announced it will provide a £1.57bn support package for arts venues and cultural spaces.

While exact details of the support are yet to be confirmed the Government has said it will be a mix of emergency grants and loans. There will be a funding pot worth £1.15bn for English “cultural organisations”, comprised of up of £270m of repayable finance and £880m grants.

Venues will be able to apply for the scheme in a number of weeks, with “repayable finance” to be provided on a tailored-basis for venues. 

A range of independent sector voices  - including individuals from the Arts Council England, Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund - will help the Government decide who should receive grant funding.

The support package will include an additional £188m for the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland (£33m), Scotland (£97m) and Wales (£59m).

It will also provide a cash injection to restart construction work at cultural sites that was paused because of the coronavirus outbreak and provide £100m of targeted support to “national cultural institutions” in England.

Lifeblood of culture

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Our world-renowned galleries, museums, heritage sites, music venues and independent cinemas are not only critical to keeping our economy thriving, employing more than 700,000 people, they’re the lifeblood of British culture.

“That’s why we’re giving them the vital cash they need to safeguard their survival, helping to protect jobs and ensuring that they can continue to provide the sights and sounds that Britain is famous for.”

The news comes after a vocal #SaveOurVenues campaign from music and entertainment spaces​. Pubs which attracted trade from theatre districts or drew in crowds for their own live performances told The Morning Advertiser​ they anticipated being closed for months longer than other hospitality venues.

Some of these venues have shared their relief at the news of the support package on social media.

Music Venue Trust chief executive Mark Davyd said the package was an “unprecedented intervention into Britain's world class live music scene".

He added: "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."

As it stands, hospitality venues are not allowed to host live performances as per reopening guidance issued from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The Government has said it will issue guidance on a phased return of live performances shortly.

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