Sunak doubles arts rescue to £60m

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has doubled the £30m emergency rescue fund for the arts following criticism from the sector that it was too little too late for many organisations.

The fund, now worth £60m, is aimed at museums, cinemas, theatres and heritage across the country. The funding is part of the £1bn rescue package or hospital and cultural outlets announced earlier this week.

There is also immediate relief for freelancers – 70% of the creative sector’s workforce – of £1.5m, alongside £1.35m coming from the theatre community.

“Our arts, culture and heritage sectors bring joy and enrichment to our day-to-day lives, and rarely more so than at Christmas, so we understand how devastating the uncertainty caused by Omicron has been” Sunak said today. “This new funding, alongside the new grants of up to £6,000 we announced earlier this week, will support the sector as we together face this difficult time.

“We’ve supported the cultural sector throughout the pandemic, and we’ll continue to do so.” 

So far £1.5bn has been distributed from the Treasury’s £2bn culture recovery fund.

Meanwhile another £2m has been raised in 48 hours by the Theatre Artists Fund to help theatre freelancers suddenly finding themselves without work. The fund was set up by director Sam Mendes during the first lockdown last year and is administered by the Theatre Development Trust. Applications to the fund will be open from tomorrow, December 24, thanks to £1 million from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, a £250,000 from the Backstage Trust and over £100,000 from major individuals and smaller trusts. Arts Council England has added £650,000.

 

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