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.
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.
We will never build back better without having the arts and our flourishing creative industries.
In these hard times we need the arts more than ever.
We urge the Culture Secretary and the UK Government to:
We need the arts to help us navigate our way through the next stage of the pandemic. Together, we can ensure they are protected.