£1.57bn arts rescue package is 'seismic step forward', says Norbury

£1.57bn arts rescue package is 'seismic step forward', says Norbury

The Creative Industries Federation and Creative England has welcomed the government's newly announced £1.57bn fund to help the arts as "the game changer we need".

C.e.o. Caroline Norbury said: “This unprecedented £1.57bn investment is a seismic step forward. Our creative industries are teetering on the brink of cultural collapse — and this could be the game changer we need. The voice of the creative sector has been heard loud and clear by the government and we warmly welcome their response. This investment acknowledges the mission critical role that the UK’s creative industries will play in recovery and growth in all parts of the country."

Faber c.e.o. Stephen Page added: “Our arts and cultural sector is essential to our society and to our world-leading creative industries. This government support recognises this and is most welcome.”

The rescue package is aimed at helping cultural, arts and heritage institutions weather the impact of coronavirus, bringing relief to the troubled theatre and performance sectors, and museums. It has not yet been spelled out whether literary festivals will be among those who benefit. Decisions on awards and funding allocations will be made by government figures working alongside independent representatives from the sector, including Arts Council England and other specialist bodies such as Historic England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.

Norbury warned that the money would not automatically help the arts sector see a return to prosperity. She said: "While this support will rescue many, so much has changed during the pandemic, there won’t necessarily be an easy return to normal. It is particularly heartening to see the reference to supporting freelances, who are a phenomenally important part of the creative industries ecosystem. 

"But there will be so much more to do to ensure that our world-beating creative sector can thrive once more and as we move forwards through the challenging days and months ahead it will be crucial that the creative industries work together to reimagine all of our futures. I’m confident the creative industries will play a vital role in powering the UK out of the forthcoming economic crisis and this investment will help the creative and cultural sector to rise to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead.” 

The funding will include a £1.15bn support pot for cultural organisations in England delivered through a mix of grants and loans. This will be made up of £270m of repayable finance and £880m in grants. A further £100m of targeted support for the national cultural institutions in England and the English Heritage Trust, and £120m capital investment to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England will also be available. The new funding will also mean £188m for administrations in Northern Ireland (£33m), Scotland (£97m) and Wales (£59m).

 Chairman of ITV Sir Peter Bazalgette said the funding was only the "first step in tackling the crisis arts and culture is facing" adding that the blend of grants and loans would help institutions to keep going, but that they would need to be supported "in the long term".

Rick Haythornthwaite, chair of Creative Industries Federation and Creative England said: “Whatever one’s sector, network payments included, creativity has always been an essential ingredient of success and imaginative, creative talent the wellspring of our most successful products and services. And the existence of this extraordinary pool of talent is no accident. Behind its development lies the UK arts and cultural sector, a deep hinterland of content, creative education, technology and inspiration that is suffering deeply at the hands of the pandemic. The government’s recognition of the crucial contribution that creativity and creative talent will make to restoring our nation’s economic prosperity and getting our towns and cities working again is extremely welcome.”