Tuesday 9 February 2021 11:16 am

London facing ‘cultural catastrophe’ due to Covid-19 pandemic

London’s creative and commercial sectors will have to team up to tackle the “cultural catastrophe” caused by coronavirus, the City of London Corporation has said.

In a report published today, the corporation warned of the “devastating” impact of the pandemic and outlined steps needed to restore the capital’s competitive advantage as a cultural and commercial hub.

“The Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a devastating impact upon the capital’s cultural and creative sectors, and we make no apology for describing the situation as a ‘cultural catastrophe’,” said Lord Mayor William Russell.

“It is critical for culture and commerce to work together and harness London’s creative energy to retain its position as the best city in the world in which to live, work, learn, and invest.”

The report, published by the corporation’s culture and commerce taskforce, urged the commercial and arts sectors to launch joint projects to help bring people back into the capital when restrictions are lifted.

This includes repurposing public and commercial spaces, employing artists and creatives to work on urban renewal programmes and filling streets, shop windows and lobbies with artistic activities.

It also recommended skills-sharing programmes and new creative enterprise hubs to boost innovation and support isolated workers.

It comes after a report commissioned by City Hall found West End arts and culture was most at risk from the pandemic, with more than 26,000 jobs on the line.

Mayor Sadiq Khan called for a post-war-style programme to help revive the capital’s economy, adding that businesses in the night-time economy, including shops and museums, may need to extend their opening hours to adapt to changing work habits.