Layla Moran MP has urged the Prime Minister to create a Cultural Protection Fund to protect venues for theatres, small community football clubs, and music venues and help shield them from the colossal impact of COVID-19.
Layla's call comes after UK Live Music Group warned that thousands of jobs will be lost and the music industry will suffer £900 million in losses without urgent Government action. UK Theatre has estimated losses for the sector at £630 million if theatres are closed until mid-June and Shakespeare’s Globe has warned it will have no choice but to close without government support. The Royal Court in London has said most theatres will “run dry of cash” by September at the latest.
Despite having an important role to play during and after the pandemic, sport, arts, and cultural charities are under significant threat due to the crisis’s economic implications. The majority of arts, culture, heritage, or science charities are small. Layla’s call for a major package of support comes after Shakespeare’s Globe has warned it will have no choice but to close without government support.
Restrictions on movement, and consequential loss of earnings, mean that those reliant on donations and with financial operations are likely to be highly vulnerable in the current crisis and its economic aftermath. In addition, many arts and cultural venues have closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. A contribution from Premier League clubs and elite sports could help grassroots organisations to survive.
Layla has proposed a fund to help support small sports clubs in the lower and non-leagues, music venues and theatres to allow them to get through the pandemic. These organisations like football clubs are at the heart of their communities and COVID-19 has had a catastrophic impact on their funding.
The scheme would be funded by a major government contribution but also a ‘solidarity support’ of a levy on elite sports clubs revenue to help grassroots sports and community arts.
Lib Dem leadership candidate Layla Moran MP said: “Supporting theatres, small sports clubs and music venues is about stopping a cultural catastrophe ripping through towns up and down the country. Parts of the arts sector are facing an existential crisis and will need a sustained package of major support from the Government to survive. This is what I’m proposing and I am urging the Government to pick up this idea and deliver it.
“From the West End to Barrow FC, these are all roots that bind communities together and through tough times they need help and support to get through it. We cannot afford to lose them; a music venue isn’t just space – it’s a hub for culture in a community as well as a major local employer.
“If we want to move forward together after this crisis we need to revive and renew the arts and support them now before it’s too late. We cannot allow the curtain to call on the UK’s cultural jewels.”