Home Resources Policy Cultural Policy Readout / 12 October 2020

Cultural Policy Readout / 12 October 2020

DCMS announces further distribution of the Cultural Recovery Fund

The Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, has announced further distribution of the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund. 450 heritage organisations in England have been awarded grants up to £1 million. The aim is to deliver a lifeline for the heritage sector in England, with further support to follow and larger grants for capital projects awarded through the Heritage Stimulus Fund. In total:

  • 445 organisations will share £103 million to help restart vital repair and maintenance work on heritage sites, to keep venues open and to help save jobs and livelihoods.
  • 433 organisations will receive £67 million from the Cultural Recovery Fund for Heritage to help with the costs for operating, reopening and recovery; and
  • 12 organisations, including English Heritage, Landmark Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and the Canal and River Trust will receive £34 million from the Heritage Stimulus Fund to restart construction and maintenance on heritage sites to preserve visitor attractions and protect jobs for heritage specialists and contractors in the sector.

Arts Council England detail how the Government’s Cultural Recover Fund has impacted the sector

Arts Council England has commissioned research from the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) that has indicated that the Government’s Culture Recovery will help the cultural sector return to pre-COVID levels of growth earlier than anticipated. The report predicts the sector’s Gross Value Added (GVA) will return to its pre-lockdown levels of £13.5 billion by 2022, a year earlier than was anticipated without government intervention. The research also shows the sector is set to be worth £15.2 billion to the economy by 2025. Other analysis in the report highlighted the significant contribution of the arts and culture sector made to the UK economy prior to the pandemic, finding the sector:

  • Was worth £13.5 billion to the UK economy in 2018, up from £12.8 billion the previous year, and contributed £3.4 billion in tax. The research shows the sector is set to grow to £15.2 billion by 2025;  
  • Created good jobs, employing 233,000 people. These roles were on average more productive than those in sectors such as manufacturing and professional, scientific and technical activities, with an average of £72,000 GVA per full time equivalent worker, compared to the UK average of £56,700. The sector also supported £28.9 billion of GVA and 454,000 full time equivalent jobs through its supply chains;
  • Supported the wider creative industries, one of the fastest growing areas of the economy, and brings visitors to high streets near cultural attractions;
  • Contributed to the Government’s “levelling up” agenda by supporting the economy in the North and Midlands. In these areas the sector generated £3.3billion GVA and supported 44,000 full time jobs and boosted productivity in the wider creative industries; and
  • Was larger than the agricultural, forestry and fishing industries combined.

Acting for Others and its network of 14 member charities have raised £3.3 million

The £3.3 million has been raised to support the industry during the pandemic, The Stage reveals. The money has been raised by more than 200 theatrical organisations and initiatives including Fleabag for Charity, the Theatre Support Fund, The Show Must Go On! Merchandise, Les Misérables: The Staged Concert DVD and the Noël Coward Foundation. Member charities, which include the Royal Theatrical Fund and the Equity Charitable Trust, have offered emotional and financial support, and benefit and welfare advice to more than 5,000 theatre workers during the pandemic. Acting for Others President, Judi Dench, described it as “truly wonderful to see how much Acting for Others and the member charities are doing to provide help for those who work (or used to) in our industry at this time”.

She added: “Since March, the need for support has drastically increased and without so many generous people, donating and fundraising in all these incredible ways, the charities simply wouldn’t be able to do the work they do.

“It is important that our less fortunate colleagues, among performers, backstage and front-of-house staff, all know we are here to offer that helping hand.”

Culture in the House

Baroness Doocey tabled the following written question of interest:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they plan to take to address concerns from the tourism industry, including from tour operators, about employees who are unable to meet the requirement to work at least 33 per cent of their usual hours to qualify for support from the Job Support Scheme.”

Baroness Barran, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, replied with:

We recognise that these are extremely challenging conditions for businesses in the tourism sector, including tour operators. We continue to closely monitor the situation. While it will not be possible to preserve every job or business, the Chancellor’s recent package of targeted measures will help businesses to protect jobs and manage their finances in the face of reduced or uncertain demand. Tour operators have been able to access the Government’s comprehensive economic support package, which includes the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme until the end of October. It also includes a significant cut to VAT for most tourism and hospitality activities until the end of March. We are offering impacted businesses generous terms for the repayment of deferred taxes and government-backed loans, as well as extending the application window of the government-backed loan schemes. We are continuing to engage across Government and with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support the recovery of tourism across the UK.”

In the week ahead

  • The Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee has launched a new inquiry to investigate Government proposals to reform the planning system, you can submit evidence until Friday 30 October 2020.

Covid Update

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has detailed “the next stage” of the Jobs Support Scheme which will replaces furlough at the end of October, the BBC reveals. The scheme is aimed to protect “viable” roles, opposed to all posts which have only been extended by the furlough scheme but will cease to exist afterwards. The scheme will operate for six-months, and the government will top up the wages of people working at least a third of their normal hours. But Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, Annelise Dodds, said the scheme is “forcing businesses to flip a coin over who stays and who goes” because it is cheaper to employ one worker than two to do the same hours. Sunak has also announced a local furlough scheme, where the government will subsidise two thirds of wages of workers in pubs, restaurants and other businesses that are forced to close due to local lockdowns.

As COVID-19 continues to spiral. The Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick has said further measures are to be announced in the coming days, measures that could be announced are pubs and restaurants ordered to close in the worst-affected areas of England. Furthermore, a three-tier system for local lockdowns is also likely to be announced. The system would place different parts of the country in different categories with each tier corresponding to different severity of measures.

Brexit Update

Michel Barnier’s arrived in London and marked the latest round of talks on the UK’s post-Brexit trading relationship with the EU. The EU’s chief negotiator talked with the UK counterpart Lord Frost, with less than a week to go until the UK’s deadline for agreeing a deal. The talks that took place are described as “informal” but any subsequent statements will be monitored for signs of progress on two key differences that remain. First, the EU wants the UK to abide by its rules on state aid, but as an independent country the UK disputes this; and secondly, the UK wants full access to EU markets to sell its fish, but doesn’t want to grant the EU full access for its fishing fleets to UK waters.

Whitehouse Consultancy

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