‘Extend business rate holiday for theatres, museums’ - Labour

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Labour is calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend business rate relief, due to expire on March 31, on thousands of theatres, museums, galleries and cinemas facing permanent closure because of lockdown.

Shadow communities secretary Steve Reed (pictured) said today that new research by the party showed that relief from business rate for another six months would save venues and average of £53,000, giving them a breathing space as lockdown is relaxed.

“Theatres, galleries, cinemas and museums are the cultural heartbeat of our town centres but they are under threat as never before because of this government’s incompetence and economic mismanagement” Reed said today. “The Chancellor’s dither and delay has created uncertainty for businesses, cost jobs and threatened our recovery, despite Labour’s repeated calls to provide businesses with breathing space by extending the business rate holiday and the VAT cut for hospitality and leisure.

“He must give businesses certainty and reduce the risk of losing both jobs and life-enhancing cultural institutions.”

Prospect, the public services union that represents workers in cultural venues, is backing Labour’s call and also wants Sunak to provide a safety net for freelancers working in the sector.

“Extending business rates relief would be a good first step to reduce fixed costs at a time when these venues are not allowed to open and bring in income, but support has to go beyond buildings and include the workforce who make our cultural life so unique. said Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy.

“To save our cultural life the Chancellor needs to support creative freelancers by closing the gaps in his support schemes, and provide security to venues by introducing a government-backed insurance so they have to confidence to prepare to reopen when the time is right.”

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