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UK Government Reveals £1.57 Billion Arts Support Package
Christian Eede , July 6th, 2020 16:11

Music venues are amongst the businesses eligible for grants and loans via the scheme

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled a £1.57 billion pandemic support package for the arts and culture industries.

Described as a "one-off investment in UK culture," the fund will see £880m made available in grants, with businesses able to apply for them until April 2021. Music venues, theatres, heritage sites, museums, and galleries are amongst the businesses eligible for grants. A further £270m fund of loans is also available.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said that institutions applying for the new grants and loans through industry bodies would have to prove how they contribute to wider economic growth. Further details on how exactly loans and grants would be issued are still scarce, but the government said that decisions on who will get funding would be made "alongside expert independent figures from the sector."

The unveiling of the package follows on from weeks of pressure from organisations and figures within the UK's arts and culture sector, including warnings from the Music Venue Trust that many grassroots music venues were on the brink of permanent closure.

UK Music also launched its Let The Music Play campaign last week, with the support of a coalition of live music businesses and musicians.

The campaign's key requests of the government were a clear conditional timeline for reopening venues without social distancing; an immediate comprehensive business and employment support package, as well as access to finance; and full VAT exemption on ticket sales. Live music venues in the UK have been closed since mid-March, just ahead of the introduction of the UK's COVID-19 lockdown.

For rolling updates on how coronavirus is impacting the worldwide music scene, click here.

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