The UK Government has announced a £1.57 billion rescue package to support the arts and entertainment sector, including live music venues, in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.  

The long-awaited financial package, described by HM Treasury as the “biggest-ever one-off investment in UK culture” follows last week’s #LetTheMusicPlay campaign that saw many of the music industry’s organisations, companies and creatives unite in a call for urgent financial help.  

A joint statement from HM Treasury and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said that thousands of organisations across a range of sectors including the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will be able to access emergency grants and loans.

The DCMS said the funding will help venues stay afloat while their doors are closed, and help support employment, including freelancers working in these sectors.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “From iconic theatre and musicals, mesmerising exhibitions at our world-class galleries to gigs performed in local basement venues, the UK’s cultural industry is the beating heart of this country.

“This money will help safeguard the sector for future generations, ensuring arts groups and venues across the UK can stay afloat and support their staff whilst their doors remain closed and curtains remain down.”

The package includes a £1.15 bn “support pot” for cultural organisations in England delivered through a mix of grants and loans. This will be made up of £270 million of repayable finance and £880 million grant. 

The DCMS pledged £100 million of targeted support for the “national cultural institutions” in England and £120 million capital investment to restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England paused due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 The new funding will also mean an extra £188 million for the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland (£33 million), Scotland (£97 million) and Wales (£59 million).

The announcement was welcomed by industry organisations including music trade body the BPI.

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI & BRIT Awards said, “The live music industry, and the artist community that it supports, has felt the full, devastating force of the Covid-19 emergency and grassroots venues urgently require support if the UK is to retain its exceptional local music scene and continue to produce world-beating artists. We look forward to further discussing how the funds will be allocated.” 

Night Time Industries Association CEO Michael Kill said he looks forward to gaining a greater understanding of the businesses that will benefit from the scheme.

“We hope it will also include the vital supply chain businesses which are fundamental to the creative and cultural sector, of which the night-time economy businesses are very much a big part of,” he said.