Following sustained lobbying from elements of the music business, the UK government has this evening (July 5) announced a £1.57bn ($1.96bn) support package for arts venues.
The package covers funding for Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues. It includes a £1.15bn ($1.43bn) pot for cultural organizations in England, comprised of £270m in loans and £880m in grants.
The news comes after months of lobbying from the Music Venues Trust (MVT) and its #saveourvenues campaign, which has been calling on Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and his government to dig deep to ensure grassroots venues can survive the pandemic’s economic fallout. Those venues have been unable to open since March, when PM Johnson announced a complete lockdown of the UK.
On Thursday (July 2), a host of top artists from the UK – including Sir Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa and Liam Gallagher – heaped further pressure on the government as part of an industry-wide #LetTheMusicPlay campaign.
In a joint letter, some 1,500 artists said: “UK live music has been one of the UK’s biggest social, cultural, and economic successes of the past decade. But, with no end to social distancing in sight or financial support from government yet agreed, the future for concerts and festivals and the hundreds of thousands of people who work in them looks bleak.
“Until these businesses can operate again, which is likely to be 2021 at the earliest, government support will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies and the end of this world-leading industry.”
Today, in a surprise announcement, Boris Johnson revealed his government’s emergency package of funding for the sector. Johnson said Britain’s arts and culture “make our country great and are the lynchpin of our world-beating and fast-growing creative industries”.
He added: “I understand the grave challenges the arts face and we must protect and preserve all we can for future generations, ensuring arts groups and venues across the UK can stay afloat and support their staff whilst their doors remain closed and curtains remain down.”
According to The Guardian, the support package includes:
- A £1.15bn support pot for cultural organisations in England, consisting of £270m in loans and £880m in grants.
- £100m of targeted support for England’s national cultural institutions and English Heritage.
- £120m of capital investment to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England paused because of the pandemic.
- Extra money for devolved administrations, with £97m for Scotland, £59m for Wales and £33m for Northern Ireland.
Music Business Worldwide