I am pleased to inform the House that yesterday we announced 1385 cultural organisations will share over £257 million from the Culture Recovery Fund to help support arts and culture organisations through the coronavirus pandemic.
This represents the biggest award to date of the Culture Recovery Fund and means we have now provided over £360million to support cultural and heritage institutions across England.
This vital government funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.
These funds are supporting cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country - from the Beamish museum in County Durham to the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Bristol Old Vic.
The Theatre by the Lake, in Keswick, for example will receive over £800,000 in support which recognises its importance as the biggest employer in the area, the devastating impact coronavirus has had on it and theatres more widely, and the importance of safeguarding this wonderful cultural institution for the future.
Or, to take another example, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield. This cherished organisation will receive £804,000 to help the park to adapt its buildings to new regulations and help it reopen safely. Yorkshire Sculpture Park shows work by British and international artists including Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.
This is good news not only for these organisations but for towns, cities and workers in these sectors across the country - it will help to protect jobs and ensure our beloved local arts venue can remain afloat and support culture in many communities.
On top of this investment the culture sector has benefited from the Job Retention Scheme, Self Employment Income Support Scheme, the bounce back loan scheme, a reduction in VAT from 20% to 5% for tourism and hospitality firms for six month.
I want to reaffirm that we recognise the crucial role that individuals play in making our arts and creative industries world-leading.
The Culture Recovery Fund will benefit freelancers, because it will invest in organisations and help them to reopen, and restart performances which will provide more opportunities for freelancers to be engaged again.
It will also help many put on cultural activity within this Financial Year which wouldn’t have been possible without this funding.
Additionally, to complement this funding for organisations, this year, the Arts Council have made over £115m of funding available for individuals, including free-lancers, to apply to, including £18m for the Developing Your Creative Practice programme which will open for applications this Thursday.
Regarding next steps, we are working flat out to support these sectors and to get the remainder of the funding and support out to those who need it most as quickly as possible.
There will be further announcements about hundreds of millions of pounds of allocations in the coming weeks to support the UK’s incredible culture, heritage, arts and creative industries.
The government is here for culture. Help is on its way with more to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the cultural sector - the soul of our nation - can bounce back strongly.