Britain’s globally renowned arts, culture and heritage industries will receive a world-leading £1.57 billion rescue package to help weather the impact of coronavirus, the government announced today.

Thousands of organisations across a range of sectors including the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will be able to access emergency grants and loans.

The money, which represents the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture, will provide a lifeline to vital cultural and heritage organisations across the country hit hard by the pandemic. It will help them stay afloat while their doors are closed. Funding to restart paused projects will also help support employment, including freelancers working in these sectors.

Many of Britain’s cultural and heritage institutions have already received unprecedented financial assistance to see them through the pandemic including loans, business rate holidays and participation in the coronavirus job retention scheme. More than 350,000 people in the recreation and leisure sector have been furloughed since the pandemic began.

This new package will be available across the country and ensure the future of these multi billion-pound industries are secured says the Government

The package includes £880 million in direct grant funding. The Treasury will also offer a further £270 million in loans for arts organizations, £100 million for national museums and English Heritage; £120 million for stalled heritage projects; plus an extra £188 million for the devolved administrations.

Julia Fawcett OBE, chief executive of The Lowry, said: “The announcement of £1.57bn of emergency investment in the UK’s culture sector is welcome news, but we are fast running out of time.

“This lifeline will come too late for some organisations who have already been forced to close their doors for good or made valued employees redundant.

“While we await precise details of the funding mechanisms, I would remind Government that the priority now must be to get these much-needed funds to the organisations most at risk – and fast.

“In doing so, they can help save programmes of work and thousands of jobs across our sector that will otherwise fall victim to COVID.”

Home’s Director and CEO Dave Moutrey said of the announcement

“We’re pleased to welcome the announcement of the Government’s support package. It is a clear signal of the importance of arts and culture to UK life and will play a vital part in the reopening of our cultural institutions. It is also the result of dedicated work from people from across all the cultural sectors, and testament to the commitment and passion of those who work in this industry.

“As the UK moves towards recovery, the incredibly talented people who work both in front of and behind the scenes will be crucial. We hope this announcement will mean they will have an industry to return to.

“We look forward to further announcements on how these funds will be distributed to support the organisations and freelance artists who make UK culture a watchword for excellence across the world. And we look forward to being able to announce more on how this support will enable us to reopen to our visitors, who we have missed so much.”

Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary Jo Stevens told The Westminster Hour last night she feared the promise of grant funding will have come too late for many arts organizations which have been teetering on the brink since mid-March. “We welcome obviously this injection of much-needed cash,” she said, “but I do wonder what took the government so long. They have known the problems in the sector for weeks and weeks and weeks, and for some areas and some organizations and theaters across the country from north to south, it’s already too late — jobs have gone.”


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