Rio Cinema in London
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UK Government Pledges Arts Relief Package: "Biggest Ever One-Off Investment In UK Culture"
On July 5, the British government announced a £1.57 billion ($1.96 billion USD) coronavirus relief package for the gravely affected arts and culture sector of the country, including music venues, theaters, museums, galleries, independent cinemas, cultural institutions and freelance workers in the arts. No information on how to apply for funds—which will be distributed as loans and grants—has been given yet.
The news comes days after a coalition of over 1,500 British musicians, including Dua Lipa, the Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran and Rita Ora, urged the government to assist the £4.5 billion ($5.6 billion) live music sector with the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign.
"Our world-renowned galleries, museums, heritage sites, music venues and independent cinemas are not only critical to keeping our economy thriving, employing more than 700,000 people, they're the lifeblood of British culture," wrote Rishi Sunak, U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the announcement. "That's why we're giving them the vital cash they need to safeguard their survival, helping to protect jobs and ensuring that they can."
"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," U.K. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden added.
The immediacy of the "immediate funding" is unclear, as applications and guidelines are not yet available. As Billboard reports, "Exactly how much funding will benefit the music sector, and what the process will be for allocating the funds, has not yet been fully fleshed out."
"We don't know the breakdown of how much will go to live music venues versus other sectors as applications are not open yet," the spokesperson says. "They will be soon."
All applicable cultural institutions, including music venues, will be sharing funds from the "£1.15 billion support pot for cultural organizations in England," as the announcement states. £880 million of that money will be offered as grants, while the remaining £270 million will be repayable loans. An additional £188 million will be allocated to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The government will determine who the grants are allocated to in partnership with "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. [Additionally,] repayable finance will be issued on generous terms tailored for cultural institutions to ensure they are affordable."
As Billboard highlights, "The funding will also target employment, including freelancers in the music industry. More than 350,000 people in the recreation and leisure sector have been furloughed since the pandemic began. (The U.K. live music sector supports 210,000 jobs)."
"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," Tom Kiehl, acting CEO at U.K. Music, told the outlet.
For more information on COVID-19 relief for those in the music industry, please visit MusiCares useful resource page. You can also find more info on applying for a one-time grant from the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, or donating to the Fund, if you are able.