Government support for the arts takes centre stage

6th July 2020

Thousands of theatres, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music venues and independent cinema are being offered access to emergency grants and loans in order to keep them afloat whilst their doors remain shut.

In a move that for some venues comes too late, but for others comes just in time, the package of measures includes:

  • £1.15 billion support fund for cultural organisations in England delivered through a mix of grants and loans. This will be made up of £270 million of repayable finance and £880 million grants.
  • £100 million of targeted support for the national cultural institutions in England and the English Heritage Trust.
  • £120 million capital investment to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England which was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The new funding will also mean an extra £188 million for the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland (£33 million), Scotland (£97 million) and Wales (£59 million).

Decisions on awards will be made with advice from the likes of the Arts Council England and other specialist bodies such as Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.

Repayable finance will be issued on "generous" terms tailored for cultural institutions to ensure they are affordable.

Further details will be set out when the scheme opens for applications in the coming weeks. So there may be some issues with the details which we await, but the move does appear to recognise the important contribution the arts make to the social and economic landscape of the country.

Of particular concern will be the support available for smaller venues and freelancers.

Check out our Business after COVID-19: Transition Knowledge Hub for more guidance and advice on managing the pandemic.

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