UK government announce £1.57 billion support package for entertainment sector

From Loudersound.

The UK government has revealed a £1.57 billion emergency support package for the entertainment sector amid the coronavirus crisis.

The money will be distributed to music venues, theatres, galleries, independent cinemas, museums, and heritage sites in the form of loans and grants.

England will receive the lion’s share of the cash: £880 million in grants and £270m in loans, while a further £100m will benefit the English Heritage Trust and other cultural locations in England. An extra £120m has been marked to restart construction and infrastructure projects across the country.

Scotland will receive a total of £97m, Wales £59m and Northern Ireland £33m.

The support package comes after the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign was launched last week, alongside an open letter signed by more than 1400 artists, calling on Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden and the UK government to put immediate measures in place to secure the future of the UK’s struggling live music scene.

The government has said the package is “the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: “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.

UK Music’s acting CEO Tom Kiehl has welcomed the news, saying (via Music Week): “A £1.57bn support package for the arts is a huge step forward and should be a lifesaver for many music venues.”

He added: “The music industry was one of the first sectors to be hit by measures to tackle COVID-19. UK Music has long called for sector specific support to ensure live music can recover.

“Eligibility for grants and loans must be as broad as possible to ensure maximum take up from across the industry from those in desperate need of help. Those that don’t have a track record of public funding must also not be put at a disadvantage.”

It was recently reported that that 70% of UK music venues and theatres were at risk of permanent closure unless the government took action.

That stark warning followed the Music Venue Trust’s #saveourvenues campaign in April to help support 556 venues threatened with permanent closure across the country.

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