London’s Khan welcomes arts rescue scheme – ‘but let’s see the small print’

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The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has welcomed the government's announcement of nearly £1.6bn to support the arts through the pandemic, but has warned that all aspects of culture and the creative industries will need access to support because of the widespread impact of Covid-19.

Without government support the capital had been predicted to lose one in six of its creative jobs by the end of 2020 and suffer a £14.6bn loss to its economy. New research by the Greater London Authority, architecture and urbanism practice We Made That and economy specialists PRD estimated a further "hidden impact’" of £1.7bn cost to businesses in the creative industries’ supply chain. These businesses face an uncertain future as they wait to see if they too will benefit from government support, and he called for more clarity and who would and would not be eligible for help from the package.

The majority of London’s culture and creative industries have completely closed down because of Covid-19, with theatres, music venues and performance spaces dark and that is hitting a range of businesses behind the scenes from lighting and audio-visual firms and set designers, to textile wholesalers and prop hire.

Manufacturing, construction and logistics companies are among the wide range of industries across the country that the London’s industries, and are being affected by its near total shut-down. The new research estimates that the entire supply chain of the creative industries faces losing 82,400 jobs and seeing £3.3bn wiped off the value of London’s economy without specific support. Many of the businesses concerned fear they will not be categorised as “cultural organisations” and therefore not be eligible for government grants and loans.

Freelance designers and small manufacturing concerns are particularly at risk of being overlooked, according to Sabinna Rachimova, founder of the costume designers Sabinna.  “The UK has a long history of manufacturing, which contributed to Britain's economic success” she said. “It's great to see that there are more and more independent designers and small brands who are focusing on ethical local production and manufacturing within their fashion supply chains.

“Unfortunately, these supply chains and partnerships are now at risk. The pandemic has affected the fashion industry on all levels. When talking about support and rescue packages for our industry, everyone across the supply chain needs to be considered.”

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