- 27 Apr 20
Some of the UK's leading musicians, actors and writers have called for urgent funding for creative and cultural organisations.
More than 400 of the leading creatives in the UK, including Sinéad Cusack, Stephen Fry, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Rufus Wainwright, Johnny Marr, Imogen Heap and Paloma Faith, have signed an open letter warning that the UK is on the brink of losing "half of its creative businesses" and becoming "a cultural wasteland".
The letter, organised by the Creative Industries Federation, is addressed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden. It calls on the government to "act fast" and "implement urgent funding for creative and cultural organisations impacted by the fall-out of Covid-19."
Other signatories include the heads of Penguin Random House, Northern Ireland Screen, Lionsgate UK, the Royal Albert Hall, Shakespeare's Globe, Tate and the Royal Opera House.
"Our creative and cultural sector is in crisis," the letter reads. "A Creative Industries Federation survey of 2,000 creative organisations and freelancers revealed that 1 in 7 creative organisations believe they can last only until the end of April on existing financial reserves. Only half think their reserves will last beyond June."
The letter goes on to note that the "creative industries are one of the UK's biggest success stories, previously growing at five times the rate of the wider economy."
In Ireland, meanwhile, the National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA) have also called on the government "to ensure that the arts sector is not left behind in the huge task of recovery planning for Ireland."
In an open letter shared earlier this month, the NCFA, "speaking on behalf of more than 23,000 artists, arts workers and arts organisations", noted that the "COVID-19 crisis has created significant challenges for the arts and cultural sector."
"Following a survey by the Arts Council of almost 300 arts organisations across the country, it is estimated that organisations will lose €2.9 million in income per month of shutdown and the economic impact of the shutdown to date is estimated at over €10 million," the NCFA's letter continued. "Over 12,000 events have been cancelled with 2.4 million audience engagements lost. The direct impact of this on the country's 23,000 artists and arts workers is still unknown."
Among the potential solutions proposed by the NCFA are "a stabilisation fund for arts and cultural organisations" and an immediate investment of "an additional €20 million in the Arts Council for 2020".