Many constituents have written to me to express their concerns for the arts industry, and the grave challenges it has faced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. I know that I am not alone when I say that our theatres, galleries, museums, heritage sites, music venues and independent cinemas are not only critical to keeping our economy thriving, but are the beating heart of our country and hallmark all that is great about British culture. It is vital that we protect and preserve all that we can for future generations.
I welcome wholeheartedly the huge package of support, to tackle the financial crisis our art institutions face, as announced by the Chancellor yesterday. Thousands of organisations across a range of sectors, including the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will benefit from access to emergency grants and loans.
The £1.57 billion package represents the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture and will provide a lifeline to vital cultural and heritage organisations across the country hit hard by the pandemic, ensuring they stay afloat and protecting multi-billion pound industries that are famous around the world for the future. I am delighted that the Government has delivered on its commitment to safeguard the survival of the arts, helping to protect jobs and venues whilst doors remain closed and curtains remain down.
This funding builds on the unprecedented financial assistance the Government has already provided to the UK’s cultural sector through the pandemic, with loans, business rates relief and furlough support. More than 350,000 people in the recreation and leisure sector have been furloughed since the pandemic began.
The announcement is also fantastic news for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, and will provide a vital lifeline to cultural and arts institutions across the UK.
Not only will this investment help secure local jobs, but it will contribute to protecting iconic venues, like the Compass Theatre, Winston Churchill Hall and the Beck, providing assistance to help them weather the storm created by Coronavirus, and continue to be there for local residents and future generations to enjoy.