The government of the United Kingdom has responded to the novel coronavirus’ effect on the nation’s live entertainment industry with a $2 billion support package to assist “cultural, arts and heritage institutions.” In particular, some of the money will go to help music venues stay afloat during the pandemic.
That includes “local basement venues,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson explained.
It’s the single most significant investment ever made in U.K. culture, and it follows last week’s letter from a group of British musical artists to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden requesting help in saving the country’s arts and music scene. Iron Maiden and Judas Priest were among the metal acts to sign.
According to a July 5 announcement from Her Majesty’s Government, the “future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues will be protected with emergency grants and loans” via the program. Dowden himself touted the package in a statement.
“Our arts and culture are the soul of our nation,” the Culture Secretary said. “They make our country great and are the lynchpin of our world-beating and fast growing creative industries.”
He continued, “We must protect and preserve all we can for future generations. Today we are announcing a huge support package of immediate funding to tackle the funding crisis they face. I said we would not let the arts down, and this massive investment shows our level of commitment.”
Added the Prime Minister, “From iconic theatre and musicals, mesmerizing exhibitions at our world-class galleries to gigs performed in local basement venues, the U.K.’s cultural industry is the beating heart of this country. … This money will help safeguard the sector for future generations.”
Funds from the £1.57 billion bailouts (which equates to about $2 billion in American dollars) will help U.K. institutions such as museums and indie cinemas in addition to music venues. Some of the money will also go to jumpstart culture-based construction projects put on hold during the pandemic.
As noted by The New York Times, the U.K.’s arts and music relief package is similar to ones being passed by other European nations. In recent days, Germany launched a $1.13 billion culture stimulus for the country. France has allocated around $5.6 billion to help its arts sector survive.
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