Weldon and Shelley join call for government action on creative industries

Weldon and Shelley join call for government action on creative industries

PRH UK c.e.o. Tom Weldon and Hachette UK c.e.o. David Shelley are among more than 400 leading names from the creative industries warning that half the UK's creative businesses could be lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A letter from the Creative Industries Federation to the Chancellor and Culture Secretary warns that that government must “act, and act fast” to avoid the UK becoming “a cultural wasteland”. Thousands of professionals are currently falling through the gaps of existing government initiatives to support business, it says.

Actors, writers and musicians, and the heads of the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Opera House, Royal Northern College of Music, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Roundhouse and Scottish Ballet are among the signatories. From publishing, Fourth Estate publishing director Nicholas Pearson, Curtis Brown chair Jonny Geller, author Joanne Harris and Nicola Solomon from the Society of Authors have also signed.

The letter states the results of a Creative Industries Federation survey of 2,000 organisations and freelancers showing one in seven organisations think they can last only until the end of April on existing financial reserves, with just half estimating their reserves will last beyond June.

It warns: “We cannot allow the UK to lose half of its creative businesses and become a cultural wasteland. The creative industries are one of the UK’s biggest success stories, previously growing at five times the rate of the wider economy. The creative sector will also be critical to driving the UK’s economic recovery—and transforming lives for the better—as we re-build.”

Caroline Norbury, c.e.o of the Creative Industries Federation, said: “With venues, museums and cinemas closed, film shoots postponed and festivals cancelled, the UK’s world-leading creative industries are in deep trouble.

“Creative organisations and professionals need cash, and they need it now. Whilst government support measures for businesses and the self-employed are welcome, we know that there are still thousands of creative organisations and freelancers who are falling through the gaps, and who simply will not get through this crisis without urgent cash support.

“Creativity is an intrinsic part of the UK’s cultural identity, and one of the things that the country excels at globally. It is through harnessing this creativity that the UK will begin to build a new future. For our sanity, our culture and our very sense of who we are, it is imperative that the UK’s creative industries are supported financially through this crisis.”

Others who have signed the letter include Stephen Fry, Grayson Perry, Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, Simon Callow, Anish Kapoor and P J Harvey.