Music venue

Government announce £1.57bn to support arts venues

The money, which represents the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture, will provide a lifeline to vital cultural and heritage organisations across the country hit by the pandemic.

Maya Radcliffe
  • By Maya Radcliffe
  • 6 Jul 2020
  • min read

UK arts institutions have welcomed a £1.57bn support package from the Government, following months of pressure to aid the struggling industry.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told the BBC new grants and loans aim to preserve 'crown jewels' in the UK's art sector as well as local venues.

The emergency loans and grants will be available to theatres, concert halls, galleries and others cultural institutions, as well as some individuals working in the arts industry. Venues applying for these grants and loans will have to prove how they contribute to wider economic growth.

The Government has not yet specified how the money will be divided but the rescue package has been warmly welcomed by many arts leaders.

Andrea C. Martin, chief executive, PRS for Music said: 'PRS for Music welcomes the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s £1.57 billion support package for the cultural sector. The concerns we, alongside UK Music and our industry partners, have raised have been heard by government. This investment has potential to be a vital lifeline to the creative sector and acknowledges the important role the industry will play in UK economic growth and recovery. There is more work to be done however, we must ensure that this investment makes a positive impact across the whole sector, including making its way to the creators.'

Geoff Taylor, chief executive, BPI & BRIT Awards, said: 'We are delighted that the Government has recognised the special importance of the arts and creativity – including music - to our national life. We warmly welcome specific mention of our cherished music venues, and to support for the arts, which should also assist our classical music sector. The live music industry, and the artist community that it supports, has felt the full, devastating force of the Covid-19 emergency and grassroots venues urgently require support if the UK is to retain its exceptional local music scene and continue to produce world-beating artists. We look forward to further discussing how the funds will be allocated.' 

Tom Kiehl, acting chief executive, UK Music, said: 'A £1.57bn support package for the arts is a huge step forward and should be a lifesaver for many music venues. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and DCMS Minister Caroline Dinenage are to be warmly congratulated. “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. We are seeking urgent talks with Arts Council England to discuss further.'

Last week, the UK live music community issued an urgent plea for financial assistance as new research demonstrated the vital economic contribution of the live sector. As well as supporting 210,000 jobs across the country, venues, concerts, festivals and production companies added £4.5bn to the economy in 2019.

As a result of social distancing measures, concerts and festivals are unlikely to take place again in the UK until 2021 at the earliest. Many hundreds of redundancies have already been made, with the potential for tens of thousands to follow this year.

Coinciding with an open letter to Oliver Dowden, hundreds of artists, venues, concerts, festivals, production companies and other people across the industry posted films and photos of their last live gig under the banner #LetTheMusicPlay.