Our response to the £1.57bn rescue package for culture, arts and heritage

06.07.2020
We wholeheartedly welcome the emergency support funding announced today
The Museums Association (MA) welcomes the UK government’s announcement of a £1.57bn rescue package to help cultural, arts and heritage institutions weather the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. 

The funding will come in the form of emergency grants and loans. It includes a £1.15bn support pot for cultural organisations in England, with £880m available immediately through grants and £270m through repayable finance. 

There will be £100m in targeted support for national cultural institutions in England and English Heritage, as well as £120m to help restart construction on cultural and heritage infrastructure projects that were paused due to the pandemic. 

An extra £188m has also been allocated to the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland (£33m), Scotland (£97m) and Wales (£59m), which have devolved responsibility for cultural spending.

MA director Sharon Heal said: “We wholeheartedly welcome this vital funding for the UK arts and cultural sector. We have been campaigning alongside other sector bodies for the investment that our great cultural institutions need and the additional funding announced today should go a long way to supporting our museums and galleries through the current crisis.

“Coronavirus has put our communities and our museums and galleries under huge pressure - the task now is for a strategic and equitable distribution of funding that will allow museums to reopen safely and do the vital work of supporting communities to rebuild. We welcome the allocation of funding to all nations under the Barnett Formula.

“We know that museums can provide life changing opportunities for people and can support our health and wellbeing, create better places for us to live and work and provide opportunities for us to reflect on the pressing issues that we face. Our collections provide an historic lens that helps us understand the past, deal with the present and face the future.

“We will be working hard with our members to make sure that museums can make space for reflection and respite in these challenging times.” 

Joint statement from sector bodies

In a further statement, the National Museum Directors’ Council, Association for Independent Museum and MA said: “We welcome the government’s announcement of £1.57bn for the culture and heritage sector.  

"Across the country museums have worked tirelessly to provide entertainment, education and solace to the British public during the crisis and the levels of engagement with museums have proven that these organisations are more needed than ever, however they have done this against a background of incredible uncertainty about the future.   

"As museums across the country begin to reopen over the coming months, they will play a crucial role in the recovery as towns, city centres and rural economies begin to open up following the lockdown.  

"This funding is a signal that the government is committed to supporting our essential national and regional institutions through this challenging time. The capital investment will help avert a secondary crisis for existing grant holders that are already part way through capital initiatives, ensuring that these vital projects can deliver their intended public benefits. 

"We hope that this package marks a sea change in the government's commitment to securing a sustainable future for the museum sector and in realising the ambition of ensuring people in every corner of the UK are able to enjoy and participate in culture.”

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