UK government announce £1.57 billion support package for entertainment sector

(Image credit: Mark Holloway/Redferns - Getty)

The UK government has revealed a £1.57 billion emergency support package for the entertainment sector amid the coronavirus crisis.

The money will be distributed to music venues, theatres, galleries, independent cinemas, museums, and heritage sites in the form of loans and grants.

England will receive the lion’s share of the cash: £880 million in grants and £270m in loans, while a further £100m will benefit the English Heritage Trust and other cultural locations in England. An extra £120m has been marked to restart construction and infrastructure projects across the country.

Scotland will receive a total of £97m, Wales £59m and Northern Ireland £33m. 

The support package comes after the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign was launched last week, alongside an open letter signed by more than 1400 artists, calling on Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden and the UK government to put immediate measures in place to secure the future of the UK’s struggling live music scene.

The government has said the package is “the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: “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 while their doors remain closed and curtains remain down.”

UK Music’s acting CEO Tom Kiehl has welcomed the news, saying (via Music Week): “A £1.57bn support package for the arts is a huge step forward and should be a lifesaver for many music venues.”

He added: “The music industry was one of the first sectors to be hit by measures to tackle COVID-19. UK Music has long called for sector specific support to ensure live music can recover.

“Eligibility for grants and loans must be as broad as possible to ensure maximum take up from across the industry from those in desperate need of help. Those that don’t have a track record of public funding must also not be put at a disadvantage.”

It was recently reported that that 70% of UK music venues and theatres were at risk of permanent closure unless the government took action

That stark warning followed the Music Venue Trust’s #saveourvenues campaign in April to help support 556 venues threatened with permanent closure across the country.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.