Coronavirus: £1.57bn culture lifeline ‘won’t save every job’

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A £1.57bn emergency support package to help protect the futures of theatres, galleries and museums will not be enough to save every job, the culture secretary says.

Oliver Dowden said grants and loans would aim to preserve “crown jewels” in the arts sector, and many local venues.

It follows several weeks of pressure, with industry leaders warning that many venues were on the brink of collapse.

Independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues will also be eligible.

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Guidance for a phased return of the performing arts, starting with performances behind closed doors and rehearsals, is expected to be published by the government shortly.

The culture secretary said the government was confident the emergency package would protect the majority of jobs in the culture sector – but not all.

He said: “Sadly, not everyone is going to be able to survive and not every job is going to be protected and sadly, I will have to be honest with you, of course we will see further redundancies.”

Mr Dowden said the grants and loans are all “new money” and have two broad aims – to preserve “crown jewel” venues like the Royal Albert Hall and national galleries, while also helping local institutions across the UK.

He said institutions applying for the new grants and loans through industry bodies would have to prove how they contribute to wider economic growth.

A string of theatres have announced plans to make staff redundant in recent weeks, after being closed since the coronavirus pandemic took hold earlier this year.

Adrian Vinken, the chief executive of the Theatre Royal in Plymouth told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it was “impossible to say” if the announcement would be enough to prevent up to 100 job losses there until more detail is released.

The announcement of the new funding comes just two days after theatres across the UK were covered in colourful messages of support.

Arts Council England, the Royal Opera House, the Music Venue Trust, the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre were among those to welcome the funding.

Arts Council chairman Sir Nicholas Serota told BBC News the funding was “a very good result”.

He said: “Now it’s up to the arts organisations and the Arts Council to make best use of this money and bring the arts back into communities across the county. This announcement gives us the tools to help build a recovery.”

Music Venue Trust chief executive Mark Davyd said it “warmly welcomes this unprecedented intervention into Britain’s world class live music scene”.

He added: “This fund provides the opportunity to stabilise and protect our vibrant and vital network of venues and gives us the time we need to create a plan to safely reopen live music.”

This article was originally posted by bbc.co.uk on 6 July 2020, further details can be found here