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COVID-19: UK Theatres, museums and galleries get £1.6billion lifeline

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Theatres, museums, galleries and other cultural ventures will get a £1.6billion bailout to stop them going under as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Thousands of venues will be able to seek emergency grants and loans in what ministers say is the biggest ever one-off investment in UK arts.

With no live performances and more than 350,000 staff furloughed, the industry has warned that it will be devastated without cash aid.

Boris Johnson has promised to set out a timetable this week for when mass events can resume, but it is thought theatres, concerts and festivals may have to wait until 2021 to restart.

‘The UK’s cultural industry is the beating heart of this country,’ he said.

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‘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.’

Decisions on sharing out the bailout money will be made by bodies such as the British Film Institute, Arts Council England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England.

Venues will be able to apply for £880million in grants and £270million in loans.

There will be £100million targeted at museums, galleries and heritage sites, £120million to restart infrastructure projects and extra money for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: ‘Our world-renowned galleries, museums, heritage sites, music venues and independent cinemas are not only critical to keeping our economy thriving, employing more than 700,000 people, they’re the lifeblood of British culture. That’s why we’re giving them the vital cash they need.’

Last week 1,500 artists including Sir Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones and Ed Sheeran wrote to the Government warning that the music industry faces a bleak future without more aid.

Source Daily Mail

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