Government provides £1.57 billion support package for arts sector
The government has announced a £1.57 billion support package to help preserve the arts sector amid growing industry pressure.
Prime minister Boris Johnson has said that the package “will help safeguard the sector for future generations, ensuring arts groups and venues across the UK can stay afloat".
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said that the loan package, which has been described as the government’s “biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture”, will help preserve the “crown jewels” of the nation alongside local venues, with galleries, museums and theatres among those that will benefit.
Any who would like to apply for the grants and loans must prove their contribution to the overall economic growth of the UK. The government has said that the allocation of loans will be determined by the applications “alongside expert independent figures from the sector”.
£1.15 billion of the package will be dedicated to institutions in England, divided into £880 million in grants and £270 million of repayable loans. The government has offered reassurances that loans will be issued on “generous” terms.
Institutions in Scotland and Wales will be allocated £97 million and 59 million, respectively, while £33 million will go toward preserving those in Northern Ireland.
The £220 million left over will be divided up between heritage construction and infrastructure projects delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as going to national cultural institutions in England such as the English Heritage Trust.
Conservative MP Julian Knight, who chairs the House of Commons culture select committee, said: "This money is welcome and should take some out of the danger zone, if only temporarily. But to secure their long-term future there needs to be a targeted sector deal, possibly involving more generous tax breaks."
Meanwhile, Labour shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens said that the support measures are “too little, too late”, with many organisations already having closed or been forced to make redundancies.