ACE announces new aid package for arts

£160 million earmarked for emergency response package

The Arts Council has announced a £160m emergency package for individual artists, freelancers and cultural organisations.

ACE will also rollover its existing investment programme for National Portfolio Organisations for another year and postpone the beginning of its review of the investment programme for NPOs until late 2021 The process for the 2022-26 round had been due to begin this autumn.

The package is in addition to financial measures already announced by the Government to help businesses.

The emergency response package will include:

*£160m of emergency funding, including £20m for creative practitioners and freelancers. £50m will be available organisations outside the National Portfolio, and £90m will be available to support National Portfolio Organisations.
*The £20 million pot will mean cash grants of up to £2.5k for artists and a wide range of creative practitioners. and grants up to £4m to existing Benevolent Funds for cultural workers.
*Non NPO organisations will be able to apply for grants up to £35k from the £50m fund to support them to get back on their feet, or to continue making work in the future. Funding conditions for those already in receipt of National Lottery Project Grants will be relaxed where relevant.  

ACE says the new funds will be up and running by 30th March, with first payments made within six weeks.

The £90m programme for NPOs will launch in April and in addition ACE promises to advance current grants by up to six months to help with cashflow, and to relax funding conditions.

The budget for these measures comes from emergency reserves, and re-allocation of National Lottery Project Grants and development funds in 2020-2021. This means that Lottery project funding hwill be supended.

In a statement, ACE said that the financial crisis is "acute" for the cultural sector with closures and cancelled contracts causing massive and unsustainable losses.

“The measures we announce today are intended to support individuals and organisations and help them develop creative responses to the Covid-19 crisis, to buoy the public during the period of lockdown. The Arts Council’s sole priority at this time is to use its financial resources to support artists and creative practitioners, museums, libraries, and arts organisations, so that they can continue to serve our communities during  this crisis, and reboot creatively after it is over.”

This package is focused on dealing with the immediate crisis. To secure the long-term recovery and reboot of the cultural sector we will need to work closely with the government and other partners on further actions.  This will include looking further work on the proposed £90m fund for National Portfolio Organisations to ensure it best meets the needs of those organisations.

Sir Nicholas Serota, chai of Arts Council England, said: “Our responsibility is to sustain our sector as best we can, so that artists and organisations can continue to nourish the imagination of people across the country, both during the crisis and in the period of recovery”.


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