The UK’s arts, heritage and culture industries will benefit from a £1.57bn support package to protect them against the coronavirus downturn.
Boris Johnson will announce the new package tomorrow, which will provide funding for thousands of galleries, museums, venues, theatres, historic palaces and independent cinemas.
The package will include a £1.15bn pot of support for cultural institutions across England through a mix of loans and grants.
This will be made up of £880m in grants and £270m in loans.
There will also be £100m for “cultural national institutions” such as English Heritage Trust and £120m earmarked for infrastructure investment to “restart construction on cultural infrastructure and for heritage construction projects in England” that were halted due to Covid-19.
A further £188m will go to the devolved administrations to administer.
In a statement, Johnson said: “From iconic theatre and musicals, mesmerising exhibitions at our world-class galleries to gigs performed in local basement venues, the UK’s cultural industry is the beating heart of this country.
“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 and curtains remain down.”
Awarding of the loans and grants will be decided by independent experts and figures from a number of organisations, such as the Arts Council England and other specialist bodies such as Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.
Musical composer Andrew Lloyd Webber welcomed the announcement, which is being touted as Britain’s largest ever one-off government investment into the arts.
“It is absolutely critical that Britain’s cultural sector is restored to health as soon as possible, and I look forward to seeing the details of the rescue package and working further with [culture secretary] Oliver [Dowden] and the government to get all of Britain’s theatres – both large and small – open as soon as possible,” he said.
Arts Council England chair Sir Nicholas Serota added: “I know our amazing artists and creative organisations will repay the faith that the government has shown by demonstrating the range of their creativity, by serving their communities and by helping the nation recover as we emerge from the pandemic.”