£500m for film production, and how the £1.57bn arts recovery fund will be shared out

The government has launched a £500m scheme for save TV and film production, effectively becoming the industry's insurer.

Details have also been released of how organisations can apply for £880m in grants from next week, with grants of up to £3m available to “protect important cultural assets and ensure arts and heritage continue to play a key role in levelling up the country” said the Chancellor Rishi Sunak. The full announcement can be found here

The screen industries support more than 180,000 jobs in the UK and contributing £12bn a year to the economy, but production has had to halt because of lack of insurance to cover Covid-19 losses. The new scheme will allow popular TV dramas like Peeky Blinders (above) or Line of Duty to continue making new series.

“The UK’s film and TV industry is the envy of the world, and it’s vital that productions get the help they need to restart as part of our plan to kickstart jobs following the lockdown” said Sunak. “This targeted scheme, which will help fill the gap created by the lack of available insurance, will help protect tens of thousands of jobs, from actors and directors through to camera operators, costume designers, and runners.”

“This is very welcome news from the UK government who have worked at pace with the UK’s film, TV and broadcasting industry to develop a fund that will unlock tens of millions of pounds of production spend and help to get production companies and freelancers back to work doing what we do best making great programmes for the UK and global audiences” said John McVay of the screen trade association PACT.

Overseeing the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Programme will be a new board set up under the chairmanship of management consultant Sir Daniel Buffini and including the commissioner for cultural recovery of renewal Neil Mendoza, the chairs of the Arts Council, Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund and senior representatives of the BFI board and DCMS. The board will administer the grant-giving programme and decide the beneficiaries from the £270m loan package. "By protecting organisations large and small and where possible enabling organisations to once again create and welcome audiences and visitors, this funding will make a big difference across the cultural sector” said Buffini, who is also on the boards of the RSC and the Wellcome Trust.

In the first round of funding £622m will be distributed with Arts Council England overseeing £500m going to theatres, music and comedy venues and museums, including £2.25m in emergency support for grassroots music venues. Details for applying can be found at the ACE website here.

Independent cinemas will be able to apply to the BFI’s £30m scheme https://www.bfi.org.uk, while the NHLF https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/funding/heritage-emergency-fund and Historic England https://historicengland.org.uk/whats-new/news/covid-19-emergency-response-fund/ will distribute grants worth £92m to heritage sites. £258m is to be reserved for a second round of funding later in the financial year.

ACE has also announced the reopening of the developing your creative practice programme for individuals in the autumn with a budget increased from £3.6m to £18m, and an extra £18m to boost the National Lottery Project fund to £75m. 

“When we committed £160 million to our Emergency Response Package for the cultural sector in March, we sought to use the funds we had at our disposal to support every element of the cultural ecology in this country” said Darren Henley, ACE’s CEO. “Our intention now, therefore, is to use our remaining resources to build on the government’s rescue package so that support can reach all aspects of this ecology. 

“Providing support for individuals to think, plan and practice in the here-and-now is a priority, especially reaching those from underrepresented groups, many of whom face barriers that have only grown in height over the course of the Covid-19 crisis.” 

Caroline Norbury,  CEO of the Creative Industries Federation, said: "Today’s announcement of the support for film and TV productions hit by the pandemic, and further details of the £1.57bn support package and the establishment of the Culture Recovery board, is encouraging. We welcome the appointment of Sir Damon Buffini as chair and the announcement of the other board members, who bring with them substantial commercial experience and insight into the challenges facing the creative industries sector.

"The package will provide a lifeline to many of our country’s key cultural assets and creative organisations" she said.

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