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Culture Secretary announces £1.57billion rescue package for Culture: what you need to know

Culture Secreatry Oliver Dowden has announced a £1.57billion rescue package for culture. Arts leaders are happy. But the devil is in detail. Who gets what is not specified. There’s an disconnect for theatres, the auditorium is banned: but you can sit together on a plane for a 3-4 hour flight not in a theatre.

Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer 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 package announced today includes funding for national cultural institutions in England and investment in cultural and heritage sites to restart construction work paused as a result of the pandemic. This will be a big step forward to help rebuild our cultural infrastructure. This unprecedented package includes:

  • £1.15 billion support pot 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 working alongside expert independent figures from the sector including the Arts Council England and other specialist bodies such as Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.

Various creative industry leaders/artist commented:

Sheku Kanneh-Mason said:

I am thrilled to hear of this support by the government for the Arts in this country. Music, art and the performing arts are critical for the vitality of our diverse cultural life. As artists we are desperate to return to what we love doing and to share the richness of our creative sector. That is why this news is so encouraging.

Andrew Lloyd Webber said:

This news is truly welcome at a time when so many theatres, orchestras, entertainment venues and other arts organisations face such a bleak future. I know how hard Oliver Dowden has worked to secure this support. It is absolutely critical that Britain’s cultural sector is restored to health as soon as possible, and I look forward to seeing the details of the rescue package and working further with Oliver and the Government to get all of Britain’s theatres – both large and small – open as soon as possible.

RSC Executive Director, Catherine Mallyon and Artistic Director, Gregory

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.

The government is finalising guidance for a phased return of the performing arts sectors that will be published shortly. The government is working with the sectors to get it back up and running as soon as it is safe to do so and is being guided by medical experts.

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