Our arts and culture sector is in crisis. Already badly hit by the pandemic, it is now under extreme and mounting pressure because of the impacts of Omicron.

The UK Government has responded, but needs to go further to fully support our artists and arts workers, and to protect venues and companies from collapsing.

The arts enrich our lives, our communities and the whole of the UK. We cannot afford to lose the benefits they bring.

What’s happening?

  • Incomes are in freefall since fresh guidance was issued in response to the Omicron variant.
  • More and more events are being cancelled because of the unprecedented numbers of people self-isolating with Covid-19.
  • Government support schemes are insufficient or unavailable to many people in need.

The Chancellor has recognised the impact of Omicron by adding £30million to the Culture Recovery Fund in England, with separate funding for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This is welcome, but further action is needed.

Events and contracts are being cancelled at short notice. Grassroots music venues are “on the brink of collapse”. Theatres are having to shut down productions at a time when they usually earn as much as 40% of their annual income.

In response, the Chancellor has increased the Culture Recovery Fund by just 1.5%. The fund remains inaccessible to individual artists and to most of the commercial arts sector, which is highly exposed.

UK culture is once again facing an existential threat from Covid-19. The Government must be bolder in its support, and fast, to protect a vital sector on which millions of us depend.

I want to be able to take my grandchildren to the theatre when this is over.

Teresa

We will never build back better without having the arts and our flourishing creative industries.

John

In these hard times we need the arts more than ever.

Vicky

We urge the Culture Secretary and the UK Government to:

  1. Increase and open up emergency grant funding so as much of UK culture as possible can access support to weather the impacts of Omicron.
  2. Reinstate tax reliefs and incentives for cultural activity, such as 5% VAT on tickets, 0% business rates on cultural buildings and higher-rate cultural reliefs for all expenditures since October 2021.
  3. Introduce stronger protections against cancellations, so workers and companies have greater security in the absence of the furlough and SEISS schemes. The Live Events Reinsurance Scheme must be urgently reformed to cover cancellations caused by Covid illnesses.

We need the arts to help us navigate our way through the next stage of the pandemic. Together, we can ensure they are protected.

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Our arts and culture sector, already hit hard by the pandemic, is in crisis because of the impacts of Omicron. I've signed the Public Campaign for the Arts petition to urge the Culture Secretary to protect this vital sector. Will you join the campaign and add your name too? https://www.campaignforthearts.org/petitions/nadine-dorries-act-now-to-protect-uk-culture-from-omicron/

Dear Nadine...

We sent a letter to the Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, urging her to secure an emergency relief fund. PCA supporters from across the UK expressed some of the pressing reasons why.