HomeResourcesPolicyCultural Policy Readout / 20 October 2020

DCMS awards £76 million in latest Culture Recovery Fund grants

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has announced an additional £76 million share for 588 cultural organisations across England, taking the total to £333 million last week. Comedy clubs, circuses, festivals, regional theatres and local museums are all the types of venues receiving a share of more than £76 million in essential support. Beneficiaries in this round from the Pioneering Places East Kent towns of Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Ramsgate include:

  • Dover: The Lighthouse, Evolution Productions
  • Folkestone: HOP Projects, Creative Folkestone, Sally Hogarth, Strange Cargo, The Chambers
  • Ramsgate: Ramsgate Music Hall

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

This is more vital funding to protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back. Through Arts Council England we are delivering the biggest ever investment in the arts in record time. Hundreds of millions of pounds are already making their way to thousands of organisations.

“These awards build on our commitment to be here for culture in every part of the country.”

Genesis Foundation launches £1 million fund for freelancers in the creative sector

The Genesis Foundation – chaired by John Studzinski – has announced a new £1 million Kickstart fund to support freelancers in the creative sector. The fund will be distributed in 2021 to mark the 20th anniversary of the foundation. It is designed to enable talented freelance artists to stay on their career paths and explore new possibilities in a world altered by COVID-19. The fund will generate structured, project-based work opportunities, allowing freelancers to earn an income as the participate in future facing projects. The first projects are expected to launch in mid-2021.

John Studzinski CBE, Founder and Chairman of the Genesis Foundation, said: “COVID-19 has changed the world for all of us. At this crucial juncture we cannot afford to risk losing a whole generation of outstanding creative talent through lack of opportunity. The pandemic has been especially challenging for freelancers in the arts and creative sector. The Genesis Foundation’s Kickstart Fund will bring vital new opportunities for creative professionals through exciting projects run in collaboration with respected arts organisations.

Theatre job losses reach 7,500 – BECTU figures reveal

According to new figures from the entertainment union BECTU, at least 7,442 theatre and live events workers have been made redundant as a result of COVID-19. This is an increase of 2,500 job losses in two months since BECTU last published figures on August 3. Head of BECTU, Philip Childs, said: “The short-term grants announced in the culture recovery fund will benefit some venues, but it’s too little too late to save thousands of jobs.

Our latest figures indicate at least 7,442 creative industry workers have been made redundant already, on top of many thousands of casual and zero hour contracts workers having been laid off and the thousands of freelancers who have had their income completely cut off.

“With further funding rounds set to be delivered by loans rather grants, we are aware of more redundancies in the pipeline.”

The figures have been a call for the government to extend the furlough scheme for theatre and to provide targeted financial support for freelancers who have fallen in between the cracks of existing support schemes.

Covid Update

Prime Minster, Boris Johnson has detailed the government’s plan to simplify and standardise local rules by introducing a three-tiered system of local COVID-19 Alert Levels in England.  

Medium” alert level: 

  • Covers most of the country and will consist of the national measures. This includes the Rule of Six, and the closure of hospitality at 10pm.  

High” alert level:  

  • This aims to reduce household to household transmission, preventing all mixing between households or support bubbles indoors. The Rule of Six will apply to outdoor spaces, including private gardens;  
  • Most areas which are subject to local restrictions will automatically be placed into the “high” alert level.  

Very High” alert level: 

  • This alert level will apply where transmission rates are at the highest, and of the greatest concern. It will be based on assessment of all the available data and the local situation including incidence and test positivity, including older and more at-risk age groups, as well as growth rate, hospital admissions and other factors;  
  • In “very high” alert areas, the government has set a baseline of prohibiting social mixing indoors and in private gardens, with the Rule of Six allowed in open public places like parks;  
  • Pubs and bars must close, and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant;  
  • People will be advised not to travel in and out of these areas;  
  • The government will work with local leaders on how individual areas should go beyond the baseline set out above.  

There has been significant pushback by northern mayors who said in a joint statement they were “united” in a “fight for what is right”. Mr Burnham – Greater Manchester’s Mayor – wants more financial support for people affected by tougher rules, he said “asking us to gamble our residents’ jobs, homes and businesses and a large chunk of our economy on a strategy that their own experts tell them might not work”. Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, has called for a short lockdown or “circuit-breaker” in England of two or three weeks to bring the rising rate of COVID-19 under control. Starmer said measures were not working and another avenue was necessary to prevent a “sleepwalk into… a bleak winter”. But, his comments come after documents revealed government scientific advisers called for such action three weeks ago. 

Brexit update 

European Union leaders, led by France, have called Boris Johnson’s bluff on his threat to walk out of negotiations and demanding him to back down, the Times reveals. President Macron told Johnson that he should prepare for no-deal Brexit unless he was willing to concede a “good settlement” preserving fishing access for French fishermen in British waters after the Brexit transition period. Lord Frost, the Chief British Negotiator, said that he was “disappointed” at the EU’s stance, that European leaders, after a French demand, had dropped a commitment “to working intensivelyas agreed” during talks with the European Commission two weeks ago.  

Michel Barnier, the EU’s Chief Negotiator, said that he would call Lord Frost alerting that European negotiators can be in London from Monday for daily talks. “We’re available. We shall remain available until the last possible day,” he said after the summit. “We want to give these negotiations every chance to be successfulI shall say to David Frost we’re prepared to speed up negotiations in the next few days.” 

On Friday 16th, the Prime Minister said the UK has to “get ready” for no trade deal with the EU. Unless there was a “fundamental” change of direction from the EU, he said the two sides would not be able to agree a post-Brexit economic partnership. The UK set a deadline of Thursday to decide whether it was worth continuing talks amid continuing disagreements. Since, No 10 have argued there was “no point” in discussions continuing this week unless the EU was prepared to discuss the detailed legal text of a partnership. UK Chief Negotiator Lord Frost said he had told his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, there was now no “basis” for planned talks. Furthermore, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman took an even tougher line with Brussels stating “Trade talks are over. The EU have effectively ended them by saying they do not want to change their negotiating positions”. Originally Michel Barnier was due to come to London but this clear signal by Downing Street has created a pause in formal negotiations. This suggests that Boris Johnson is leading towards no deal unless the EU alter their position and resume negotiations.

Whitehouse Consultancy

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