NI to get £33m from UK Arts Support package
July 6, 2020
Northern Ireland is to receive £33m as part of a UK government support package for arts venues. The £1.57bn funding is aimed at the UK’s museums, galleries, theatres and music venues. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland said it was “delighted” with the “lifeline support”.
On Friday, some of Northern Ireland’s leading musicians said the industry needed urgent financial support to survive. Arts leaders had warned that the sector faced ruinous losses due to widespread closures during the coronavirus pandemic. Theatres, galleries and music venues across Northern Ireland have been closed since mid-March. Many staff have been furloughed using the government’s job retention scheme.
However, many other artists, musicians, actors and freelancers who are self-employed have not been eligible for income support schemes established during the pandemic. Venues are likely to face restrictions on capacity due to the need to maintain social distancing when they do reopen. There are also fears that music concerts and festivals may not take place until 2021.
The Arts Council has previously said that 108 venues and organisations it funds would lose about £4m in income by the end of June.
The UK government said the arts funding “represents the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture” and will help struggling institutions “stay afloat while their doors are closed”.
The support fund for cultural organisations in England is made up of £270m of loans and £880m of grants. The UK government said the loans would be “issued on generous terms”.
Independent cinemas and heritage sites are also eligible for the emergency grants and loans. Northern Ireland will receive £33m as part of funding to devolved administrations coming from the UK scheme.