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UK Government announce £1.57 billion support package for the arts

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The government has announced £1.57 billion worth of support for the arts.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is to offer a lifeline to theatres, music venues and museums amid the ongoing global health crisis.

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Theatres across the UK have been closed since March and there are fears they may not be able to reopen until 2021 due to social distancing restrictions.

The support package will include £880 million worth of grants which will extend to April next year, as well as £270 million of repayable loans.

These will be shared between theatres, music venues, heritage sites, historic palaces, museums, galleries and independent cinemas.

Prime Minister Boris 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.

"Our arts and culture are the soul of our nation. They make our country great and are the lynchpin of our world-beating and fast growing creative industries.

"I understand the grave challenges the arts face and we must protect and preserve all we can for future generations. Today we are announcing a huge support package of immediate funding to tackle the funding crisis they face. I said we would not let the arts down, and this massive investment shows our level of commitment."

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Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer added: "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. "

Meanwhile, Sam Mendes, the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre have announced the Theatre Artists Fund for individuals in need of emergency financial support.

Established with a £500,000 donation from Netflix, the fund will provide small grants to those working in the theatre industry with "nowhere else to turn".

"It is designed to specifically support those who have been ineligible for Government aid and have not been able to work since theatres closed," say SOLT.

More information is available from online at theatreartists.fund.

Picture credit: Andy Bird/Flickr.

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