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The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) and Little Lion Entertainment Ltd, which runs The Crystal Maze LIVE Experiences in London and Manchester, have announcing their intention to take legal action by way of judicial review against Arts Council England over inconsistencies in the application process for businesses applying for the Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF) in round one and two.

Little Lion Entertainment CEO Tom Lionetti Maguire said his company has struggled to survive the pandemic and protect the livelihoods of its 250 staff having unsuccessfully applied twice for CRF support.

He said, “Pre Covid times we have been incredibly successful: welcoming over one million guests per annum from all over the UK and internationally and named by Time Out as one of the events of the 2010-2020 decade.”

Maguire said the explanations as to why a CRF grant was not merited were “inconsistent, untrue and failing in any logical reason”.

He said that following Little Lion’s first application to the CRF, its event was classified as “culturally significant”. In the second round the company was denied the grant due to it being categorised as “culturally insignificant”, despite nothing having changed.

“Our intent to seek judicial review is essential to shed light on our mistreatment but also that of so many of our fellow cultural and heritage outfits: ultimately all we all want is to help our much loved industry recover and continue to delight millions for years to come,” said Maguire

NTIA CEO Michael Kill (pictured) said, “The press coverage of the initial £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund, in no way told the complete story, even amongst limited successful candidates, thousands were left out in the cold. To add insult to injury, businesses that survived the pandemic were declined funding due to adaptability, cultural significance and lack of diversity. We have continuously challenged the inconsistencies around these applications, and the subjective nature of eligibility and criteria in light of contemporary culture.

“We completely support the judicial review that has been brought today by Little Lion Entertainment Ltd which highlights the inconsistencies in the assessment of businesses applying for the CRF fund, and brings light to the subjective and unfair nature that this process represents.”