Thank you for writing to me about coronavirus and support for the arts. I have read your email carefully and noted the key points that you raise.
I very much regret the impact that coronavirus has had on performing arts in our country, and look forward to when our treasured cultural sector can make a full return.
I strongly welcome the £1.57 billion rescue package that has been announced to help Britain’s globally renowned arts, culture and heritage industries weather the impact of coronavirus. Thousands of organisations across a range of sectors including the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will be able to access emergency grants and loans. The money, which represents the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture, will provide a lifeline to many cultural and heritage organisations across the country hit hard by the pandemic.
Further details about the package can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/157-billion-investment-to-protect-britains-world-class-cultural-arts-and-heritage-institutions
In March, Arts Council England (ACE) announced a £160 million emergency response package to complement the financial measures already announced by the Government and support the resilience of this vital sector. This funding package will support organisations and individuals who need the most support to see them through this crisis.
For more details please see: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19
£90 million is being made available to National Portfolio Organisations and Creative People and Places lead organisations. £50 million is being made available to organisations that are not in receipt of regular funding from the Arts Council in order to maintain their survival through this crisis. Finally £20 million of financial support is being made available to individuals, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months.
I welcomed the establishment of the Entertainment and Events Working Group, which is working with the arts sector to find innovative ways of reopening as soon as possible. The Working Group brings together representatives from theatres, performing arts and other creative organisations as well as medical advisors to develop advice and guidance on reopenings in line with phasing ambitions and public health directions. Its work informs and supports the Cultural Renewal Taskforce which the Culture Secretary launched in May.
More information on the Taskforce can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/culture-secretary-announces-cultural-renewal-taskforce
The Government has announced that from 4 July theatres will be able to reopen for rehearsal, pre-production and broadcast, although not yet for live performance with an audience. This, alongside the work being done with representatives of the entertainment and events industry to develop supporting guidance, represents the first steps in the roadmap to recovery for our nations’ theatres.
Finally, I know the Secretary of State, Ministers and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) officials continue to consult the creative and cultural sectors extensively to ensure they understand fully the potential impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak on the sector. DCMS officials and ministers have also held regular calls with representatives from across the arts and cultural sector and these have included representatives from the Royal Shakespeare Company and a number of dance schools and representatives including Sadler’s Wells and Northern Ballet. I am confident that more support and guidance will be provided if it proves necessary.
As I say, I value our cultural sector and I support measures to preserve and protect this vital sector of our economy and society.
Thank you again for writing to me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking