Creative industries highlighted in Budget plan for growth

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Provision to help the creative industries out of the Covid recession and into development have been broadly welcomed by the sector., though with reservations about provisions for freelances and planning for the future.

Caroline Norbury, CEO of the Creative Industries Federation, said the inclusion if the newly self-employed in extended support schemes and the £408m extra cash injection (in addition of the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund announced last summer), partly to aid the reopening of theatres and museums would provide relief to many in the sector that was the worst hit by the pandemic. She also approved of extensions to the apprenticeship programme.

“As we look to the future we know that the creative industries can power us out of recession, driving economic growth, creating jobs and making our communities happier, healthier places for everyone” she said. “It is therefore welcome to see creative industries highlighted as a priority in both government’s Plan for Growth and the Levelling Up Fund, recognising that our £116bn sector is a major industry that will unlock innovation and drive the future of the UK in the months and years to come.”

She said it would be essential to attract inward investment, however, by tax reliefs, and was disappointed that proposals for government-backed insurance for live events have not been adopted. “There are also still thousands of people in our sector who are falling through the gaps. More than just support, we need urgent structural change to ensure freelancers – a vital part of our future workforce – have every opportunity to thrive” she added.

Following today's Budget 2021 announcement, here is a statement from Julian Bird, Chief Executive of the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre:

Julian Bird, CEO of the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, said the enhancement of support mechanisms in the Budget were a recognition by the government of Britain’s “world leading culture sector”, with extensions to furloughing and self-employed support, and with business rate and VAT remaining low.

“The extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to cover new entrants in the 2019/20 tax year will help many in our sector, but we urge the government to continue to look at the plight of other individuals who have fallen through the gaps of furlough and self-employed support” he said. “In order to reopen, theatre and the performing arts continue to need insurance cover, and we call upon the government to put this in place as for other sectors.”

The events industry is looking to break into action as soon as possible after the easing of lockdown, but Duncan Bell of #WeMakeEvents said that DCMS and the Arts Council needed to ensure that the live event supply chain receives a fair proportion of the additional money allocated, which it hasn’t in the past.

“Critical barriers to recovery still remain and must be overcome” he said. “Most importantly, vast numbers of businesses and individuals in the live event supply chain remain excluded from support schemes and we urge local authorities to address this through the discretionary funds they have been allocated. The continued absence of government-backed Covid-19 cancellation insurance is also a block to live events getting going again and this must be announced shortly.”

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