THE U.K. ARTS SECTOR RECEIVES $2 BILLION USD FROM THE GOVERNMENT

To help cultural, arts and heritage institutions weather the impact of COIVD-19.

By Balthazar Malevolent

THE U.K. ARTS SECTOR RECEIVES $2 BILLION USD FROM THE GOVERNMENT

The U.K. Government has announced a US$ 1.96 billion lifeline for the hard-pressed arts industry in the country. U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom shared the news on Twitter last Sunday: "We are launching a world-leading £1.57 billion aid package to help cultural, arts and heritage institutions resolve the effects of the coronavirus."

UK art scene.

This relief fund comes after months of lobbying on behalf of the struggling industry by arts unions throughout the four months of shutdowns, during which more than 50 percent of 700,000 employees in the UK involved in the leisure and recreation industries have been furloughed. In addition, many arts institutions, particularly theaters, have been greatly affected by social distancing requirements, resulting in several regional theaters being administered and dozens being redundant. This includes leading West End producer Delfont Mackintosh, who revealed they will delay shows including Les Miserables and Hamilton until 2021.

Based on the 2019 ticket sales data from the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), London theaters alone produced a £799 million GBP box office revenue ($995 million USD). Moreover, the West End collected more than 15.3 million admissions, nearly one million more than Broadway. Nonetheless, according to a new report from the Creative Industries Federation, due to the pandemic, this year's theater revenue is expected to decrease by £3 billion GBP ($3.8 billion USD) and 70 percent of jobs will be lost in the industry.

The rescue plan includes £880 million in grants to be divided between theaters, libraries, galleries, heritage sites, independent cinemas and music festivals for this financial year up to 2021. In addition, £270 million GBP ($336 million USD) will be provided in repayable loans, £100 million GBP ($124 million USD) of targeted funding will be allocated to cultural organizations and a further £120 million GBP ($149 million USD) will be used to reboot construction at cultural venues. In addition, Northern Ireland will receive £33 M GBP ($41 M USD), Scotland £97 M GBP ($121 M USD) and Wales £59 M GBP ($73 M USD) budgetary support for their arts sectors.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson noted: "This investment will help protect the industry for future generations, ensuring arts organizations and venues across the U.K. can stay alive while their doors remain locked, and support their employees."

We hope that U.K. fashion houses will also receive governmental funding, otherwise, for many the situation is going to be dramatic. For instance, Victoria Beckham Limited, has never made a profit since it launched in 2008, the brand reported a loss of £12.3M for 2018. Sales slipped 16% to £35M, amid weaker wholesale demand.

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