Rishi Sunak announces £1.57 billion rescue package for cultural, arts and heritage institutions

Manchester Art Gallery

Rishi Sunak last night announced that he will be introducing a “world-leading” £1.57 billion rescue package to help cultural, arts and heritage institutions weather the impact of coronavirus.

The package, which will include emergency grants and loans for struggling arts venues, could save millions of jobs in the arts industry.

As most of the country’s hospitality industry reopened this weekend, performers, artists and heritage sites across the UK remained closed to the public and deprived of income.

Guidance for a phased return of the performing arts sectors is expected to be published by the Government shortly.

Speaking about the arts and culture sector recently, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “From iconic theatre and musicals, mesmerising exhibitions at our world-class galleries to gigs performed in local basement venues, the UK’s cultural industry is the beating heart of this country.

“This money will help safeguard the sector for future generations, ensuring arts groups and venues across the UK can stay afloat and support their staff whilst their doors remain closed and curtains remain down.”

Last week Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre said 65 per cent of its staff were at risk of redundancy, while on Friday, the National Theatre confirmed it had made all 250 of its casual front-of-house staff redundant.

The chancellor’s arts package announcement comes ahead of his summer statement on Wednesday, which will focus on jobs and include training initiatives for young people.

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