Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Petition Provide financial support to performers and creators during the COVID-19 crisis

The prospect of widespread cancellations of concerts, theatre productions and exhibitions due to COVID-19 threatens to cause huge financial hardship for Britain's creative community. We ask Parliament to provide a package of emergency financial and practical support during this unpredictable time.

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Only government can compensate individual performers and creators for lost work, and provide emergency funding to orchestras, venues, theatres and festivals. Extensive cancellations, downturns in attendance and earned income, and loss of opportunity threaten the viability of hundreds of organisations and the livelihood of thousands of artists. Immediate and robust action is urgently needed to ensure that Britain remains a world leader in the creative industries.

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Parliament debated this topic

This topic was debated on 25 June 2020

Government responded

This response was given on 22 July 2020

HMG announced a £1.57 billion package for cultural organisations. From 11/7 outdoor performances are allowed. From 1/8, indoor performances to live audiences can restart, subject to success of pilots.

The Government recognises the huge contribution the arts and cultural sector makes, not only to the economy and international reputation of the United Kingdom, but also to the wellbeing and enrichment of its people.

We appreciate that this is an incredibly challenging time and that there are many cultural organisations and professionals who are currently facing difficult and uncertain circumstances. We are very alert to this issue, and are working to find solutions that support this vital sector as the lockdown eases.

On 5 July, the government announced a major £1.57 billion support package for cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. Culture and Heritage are at the heart of communities across the country, enriching the lives of millions, and this financial investment is testament to the role this sector plays in our lives.

This funding will prioritise institutions of national and international significance and those that are crucial to the valuable cultural fabric to places and communities and down the country. In order to receive support, organisations will need to demonstrate that they are at risk in this financial year and have done all they can to exhaust other options.This fund will support organisations through to the Spring of 2021.

Key organisations in England will be able to apply for grants or loans, with loans being offered on generous terms, with low rates, an up-front repayment holiday, and long payback period.

Grant funding will be delivered through Arts Council England, Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the British Film Institute to support cultural and heritage organisations at risk, including publicly-funded and non-publicly-funded arts, museums and heritage organisations, music venues and independent cinemas. Details of guidance and application phases will be set out by Arms Length Bodies in due course. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/157-billion-investment-to-protect-britains-world-class-cultural-arts-and-heritage-institutions.

In addition, the Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport recently revealed a five stage roadmap that the government will work through to get the performing arts sectors back up and running as soon as possible:

Stage One - Rehearsal and training (no audiences)
Stage Two - Performances for broadcast and recording purposes
Stage Three - Performances outdoors with an audience and pilots for indoor performances with a limited socially-distanced audience
Stage Four - Performances allowed indoors and outdoors (but with a limited socially-distanced audience indoors)
Stage Five - Performances allowed indoors / outdoors (with a fuller audience indoors)

From the 11th July, we will move to Stage Three. This means that performances outdoors with a socially distanced audience can take place in line with this guidance. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is working alongside sector bodies including UK Theatre, the Association of British Orchestras, the Musicians’ Union, One Dance UK, the Music Venue Trust and Live Comedy Association to identify suitable pilots for indoor performances with a socially distanced audience. From 1 August, indoor performances to a live audience can restart, subject to the success of pilots.

On 9th July we published guidance for people who work in performing arts, including arts organisations, venue operators and participants which will help people understand how they can work and take part in the performing arts safely, and keep their audiences safe. It provides advice on all aspects of performance, from casting, sound and lighting, costume and fitting, to cloakrooms, orchestra pits, hair and make-up.

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Other parliamentary business

Petitions Committee questions Government on its response to coronavirus

Last week the Petitions Committee put some of the most popular questions from the public about coronavirus to the Government Minister for Schools, the Minister for Disabled People and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer. These included:

  • How long will schools be closed for and what will the impact be on exams and grades?
  • What financial support will be available for the self-employed?
  • What financial support will be offered to people who are unable to pay their rent or bills due to self-isolation or loss of work?
  • What support will be offered to the events, creative and hospitality industries now that pubs, clubs and cultural venues have been closed?
  • What clear, practical steps can people take to make sure they are following Government guidance on social distancing, household isolation and self-isolation?
  • Who is being tested and why, and will tests be made freely available to everyone?
  • What is the Government doing to ensure that everyone is getting the right information?

Watch the session on YouTube: https://youtu.be/aPLXJcZEfi8

Read the transcript: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/192/the-governments-response-to-coronavirus/publications/written-evidence/

Because of the large number of petitions that we continue to receive on coronavirus we have sent more questions to the Government to answer.

Read our letters to different Government Ministers: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/publications/3/correspondence/

Some of the questions we’ve asked include:

  • When will testing capacity will be increased; who will testing be available for and will it be free?
  • What is being done to tackle the spread of disinformation?
  • How quickly will support for self-employed people be made available?
  • What will happen to the school year? Will summer holidays be cancelled so that children can catch up?
  • How are foodbanks being supported to continue operating during the outbreak?
  • What is being done to address panic buying and prevent price hikes of key items?
  • Will trains, buses and flights continue to operate? For how long?

We’ll email you again to let you know when we get a response to these questions, and to let you know about any more action the Committee takes.

Who are we?

We are the House of Commons Petitions Committee. We are a cross-party group of MPs that looks at e-petitions submitted on petition.parliament.uk. We are independent from Government. You can find out more about us and our work on our website.

You can follow the Petitions Committee on Twitter: @HoCpetitions.

Further information

You can read impartial House of Commons Library information about coronavirus here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/coronavirus/

You can find out more about coronavirus and how you can protect yourself and others here:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

You can read NHS tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus here: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-anxiety-tips

MPs investigate the economic impact of coronavirus

A group of MPs called the Treasury Committee is investigating the economic impact of coronavirus, including looking at support for businesses, employees and self-employed people.

The Committee launched the first stage of its inquiry on 18 March to look at the speed, effectiveness and reach of the Government’s and Bank of England’s immediate financial response to coronavirus.

During this stage, the Committee pushed the Government on the lack of support for the self-employed, on lenders requesting personal guarantees on business interruption loans, and on the issue of large firms struggling to get support, including in order to retain their employees.

On 24 April the Committee launched the next stage of its inquiry, in which it will examine the effectiveness, cost and sustainability of the Government’s and Bank of England’s support packages. The Committee will also examine the impact on the economy and different sectors, the implications for public finances, and how the Government can work towards a sustained recovery.

You can find out about the inquiry, including how to submit your views and details of meetings the Committee is holding, here: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/224/economic-impact-of-coronavirus/

The Treasury Committee is a cross-party group of MPs and is independent of the Government. The Committee looks at and questions the Government about matters relating to the spending of public money and economic policy.

You can find out more about the Treasury Committee on their website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/158/treasury-committee

You can follow the Treasury Committee on Twitter: @CommonsTreasury

The Treasury Committee is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

Has coronavirus affected your business in Wales?

A group of MPs called the Welsh Affairs Committee is looking into the impact of coronavirus on the Welsh economy, and would like to hear your views.

If your business in Wales has been affected by coronavirus, complete this survey to tell the Welsh Affairs Committee how the coronavirus outbreak has affected you: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=nt3mHDeziEC-Xo277ASzSsdf6aRbb_hHi61kcnJ3-KJUNEpKUVQ3ODkxU0tTQUdVV05ZMFhYRFozRy4u

The survey should only take 10 minutes to complete, and closes at 5pm on 15 May.

The Welsh Affairs Committee is a cross-party group of MPs and is independent of the Government. The Committee looks at and questions the Government about matters that have an impact on Wales.

You can find out more about the Welsh Affairs Committee on their website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/162/welsh-affairs-committee/

You can follow the Welsh Affairs Committee on Twitter: @CommonsWelshAff

The Welsh Affairs Committee is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

Further Information

You may also be interested to know that because of the large number of petitions that have been started in relation to coronavirus, the Petitions Committee has been questioning the Government about its response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Find out more and watch the Committee put questions suggested by petitioners to Government Ministers and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/145767/committee-question-deputy-chief-medical-officer-and-ministers-on-coronavirus-response/

Read letters from the Committee asking further questions of Government Ministers: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/192/the-governments-response-to-coronavirus/publications/

Visit our website to find news and information on other activity in relation to coronavirus and other issues: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/

You can read impartial analysis of the Government response to coronavirus and policy developments here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/coronavirus/

Government announces £1.57 billion funding for cultural, arts and heritage institutions

Last month MPs in the House of Commons discussed support for UK industries, including the arts and heritage sectors, in a debate arranged by the Petitions Committee. This debate was held in response to a number of popular petitions on this issue, including this one.

The Government has now announced £1.57bn in additional support to help cultural and heritage organisations, through a mixture of emergency grants and loans.

Find out more about the additional support announced by the Government: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/157-billion-investment-to-protect-britains-world-class-cultural-arts-and-heritage-institutions

During the debate on 25 June, many MPs highlighted the impact of the pandemic on the arts and heritage sectors, and called on the Government to provide support.

Watch the debate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV0Et_Pfhdk&feature=youtu.be

Read the transcript: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2020-06-25/debates/E1479A23-8697-4B2E-9E5F-2A208EC3E217/Covid-19SupportForUKIndustries

What is the Petitions Committee?

The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs that considers e-petitions submitted on Parliament’s petitions website and public (paper) petitions presented to the House of Commons.
It's a cross-party committee and is independent of the Government.

You can get updates on their work by following the Committee on Twitter @HoCpetitions
or on their website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/

This is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

Find out more about how petitions work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGEOraE08Jk&feature=youtu.be

MPs to debate petitions calling for support for UK industries in response to Covid-19

The Petitions Committee, which is the group of MPs who oversee the petitions system, has agreed to schedule a debate in the House of Commons Chamber on Thursday 25 June on petitions calling for support for UK industries in response to Covid-19.

The debate is being held in response to the huge number of petitions, including the one you signed, that call for the Government to provide support for UK industries in response to Covid-19.

The start time of the debate will depend on other parliamentary business, but you can follow the Petitions Committee on Twitter @HoCpetitions, where we will post updates on when we expect the debate to start.

You will be able to watch the debate live here: https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/a7b6db44-6101-42c7-b2a0-32abd08b80ef

A transcript will be published the following day here: https://hansard.parliament.uk

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