£1.57bn to protect cultural, arts and heritage institutions

The government has announced that Britain’s globally renowned arts, culture and heritage industries will receive a £1.57 billion rescue package to help weather the impact of coronavirus.

Representing the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture, the funding will provide a lifeline to vital cultural and heritage organisations across the country hit hard by the pandemic. The investment seeks to both keep organisations afloat whilst their doors are closed and help support employment, including freelancers working in these sectors. More than 350,000 people in the recreation and leisure sector have been furloughed since the pandemic began.

The package includes: £1.15 billion support pot for cultural organisations in England delivered through a mix of grants and loans, made up of £270 million of repayable finance and £880 million grants; £100 million of targeted support for the national cultural institutions in England and the English Heritage Trust; £120 million capital investment to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England which was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic; and an extra £188 million for the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland (£33 million), Scotland (£97 million) and Wales (£59 million).

Decisions on awards will be made working alongside expert independent figures from the sector including the Arts Council England and other specialist bodies such as Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “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.”

Oliver Dowden Culture Secretary added: “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. Today we are announcing a huge support package of immediate funding to tackle the funding crisis they face. I said we would not let the arts down, and this massive investment shows our level of commitment.”