U.K. Government Passes £1.57 Billion Relief Package for Arts and Entertainment Industries
The U.K. has joined the growing list of countries that has offered a lifeline to its struggling entertainment industry.
Following the German government’s decision to issue a €150 million grant (roughly $167 million USD) to help buoy live music and promoters unable to operate amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the U.K. has announced a £1.57 billion support package of grants and loans available to all companies in the arts and entertainment industries affected by the shutdown. Music venues, museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas and heritage sites are eligible for the payments, most of which will come in the form of grants that will not need to be paid back.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden stated:
“Our arts and culture are the soul of our nation. They make our country great and are the lynchpin of our world-beating and fast-growing creative industries. I understand the grave challenges the arts face and we must protect and preserve all we can for future generations.”
Even nitwit Prime Minister Boris Johnson recognizes the value of the U.K.’s cultural institutions, offering:
“From iconic theatre and musicals, mesmerising exhibitions at our world-class galleries to gigs performed in local basement venues, the UK’s cultural industry is the beating heart of this country. This money will help safeguard the sector 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.”
Chief executive of the Lowry in Salford, Julia Fawcett, said the package falls far short of the industry’s needs:
“The announcement of £1.57bn of emergency investment in the UK’s culture sector is welcome news, but we are fast running out of time. This lifeline will come too late for some organisations who have already been forced to close their doors for good or made valued employees redundant.”
Labour’s shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens agreed, saying the package is “too little, too late.”
Meanwhile, here in the U.S., those of us in the entertainment industry whose livelihoods have been affected by the shutdown are still here wondering whether we’ll get ANY assistance besides the measly Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, which were designed to only cover two months’ of payroll and were available to all businesses regardless of sector. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a government that actually gave a shit? Hell naw… freedom!
A newly formed organization, the National Independent Venue Association, is working to lobby local and federal government officials in the U.S. for a relief package similar to what Germany and the U.K. have passed.
More information on the U.K.’s program is available here.