UK Government announces £1.57bn arts support package

Museums, galleries, theatres, cinemas, music venues and heritage sites will receive £97m in Scotland.

UK Government announces £1.57bn arts support package Getty Images
Grants: Package announced to support the arts.

Scotland’s museums, galleries and theatres can apply for emergency grants and loans being made available as part of a £1.57bn support package announced by the UK Government.

Independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues are also eligible for emergency financing aimed at protecting the future of the arts.

Scotland will receive £97m in funding, while money has also been allocated to the other devolved administrations – £33m for Northern Ireland and £59m for Wales.

The £1.15bn support pot for cultural organisations in England will be made up of £270m of repayable finance and £880m of grants.

The UK Government said: “Repayable finance (for the loans) will be issued on generous terms tailored for cultural institutions to ensure they are affordable.”

Guidance for a phased return of the performing arts sectors is expected to be published shortly.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “I urge the Scottish Government to use this extra money to support Scotland’s vibrant and diverse cultural organisations which have been so significantly impacted by the coronavirus restrictions.

“The talent and creativity of Scottish arts organisations is renowned throughout the UK and internationally. I know they have the creativity and resilience to bounce back better than ever with the right support.

“This funding is part of an unprecedented package of UK Government measures to support all sectors of our economy through this pandemic. That includes supporting the jobs of nearly 800,000 people in Scotland, including many of those who work in our arts and culture organisations.”

The package comes after some theatres – which are not yet able to stage live performances – closed down, making staff redundant, amid the pandemic.

Museums have also said they face an uncertain future, while 1,500 artists and acts signed a letter to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden calling for a road map for the live music industry.

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.”

Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister

“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.”

The UK Government said the money “represents the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture” and will help struggling institutions “stay afloat while their doors are closed”.

“Our industry’s united ambition is to be able to play its vital role in the nation’s economic and social recovery and this investment will allow us to do so.”

Julian Bird, chief executive of the Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre

Julian Bird, chief executive of the Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre, said the funding was “hugely welcomed”.

“Venues, producers and the huge workforce in the theatre sector look forward to clarity of how these funds will be allocated and invested, so that artists and organisations can get back to work as soon as possible,” he said.

“Our industry’s united ambition is to be able to play its vital role in the nation’s economic and social recovery and this investment will allow us to do so.”

The UK Government said funding will also be provided to restart construction work at cultural and heritage sites paused as a result of the pandemic

Decisions on awards will be made working alongside expert independent figures from the sector.