Arts and heritage sector receives £1.5 billion rescue package
There was a huge sigh of relief as the Government announced its plans to pump £1.5 billion into arts, culture and heritage. The move, aimed at saving jobs and venues threatened with closure in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, was universally welcomed.
But praise for the intervention by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden and Chancellor Rishi Sunak was accompanied by worries about how exactly this rescue package is going to work. “The devil will be in the detail,”one arts administrator told me. “We will just have to wait and see.”
What is on offer is a mixture of emergency grants and loans which Prime Minister Boris Johnson says will: “help safeguard the sector for future generations”.Thousands of theatres, museums, galleries, heritage sites, live music venues and independent cinemas will be eligible for help. It follows crisis meetings and warnings from venues facing permanent closure. Sadly for some the package, which is made up of £880 million in grants and £270 million in repayable loans, will have come too late. For others the cash is needed NOW.
Let’s hope that this, admittedly very generous offer, comes in time to save theatres, shows, producers, performers, technical staff and particularly the many freelance and self-employed workers who help make the art sector work.