UK government pledges £1.57 billion bailout for arts industry

The music, theatre and arts industries across the UK have applauded the government's announcement of a rescue package following the national lockdown

Royal Opera House, London

After weeks of campaigning from leading figures from the world of art, music and theatre, the UK government has announced a £1.57 billion rescue package to save the arts industries.

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The funds will go towards supporting the UK’s museums, galleries, theatres, cinemas, concert halls, heritage sites and live music venues, and will be a mix of emergency grants (£270 million) and loans (£880 million).

£33 million will go to the administration in Northern Ireland, £97 million to Scotland and £59 million to Wales. An additional £100 million will be reserved for cultural institutions in England, such as the British Museum, British Film Institute, National Gallery and English Heritage.

£120 million will be used to restart construction on heritage projects and cultural buildings and infrastructure in England that was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It has not yet been announced how the money will be split between regions and industries, or how venues and organisations can apply for funding.

The government’s announcement comes after violinist Nicola Benedetti, conductor Simon Rattle, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and trumpeter Alison Balsom met with culture secretary Oliver Dowden to discuss the support needed to help the music industry get back on its feet after months of lockdown and subsequent social distancing restrictions.

In his statement, Dowden said ‘I understand the grave challenges the arts face and we must protect and preserve all we can for future generations. I said we would not let the arts down, and this massive investment shows our level of commitment.’

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In reaction to the news, Simon Rattle said ‘We are an immensely interconnected industry, so it is important that the funds percolate from the grassroots up, so that the whole landscape can be nourished, and we hope it will be distributed as fast as possible. Preferably faster, as so many institutions and individual artists have been staring into the abyss.’