Closed petition Offer more support to the arts (particularly Theatres and Music) amidst COVID-19

As we pass the COVID-19 Peak, the Government should: State where the Theatres and Arts fit in the Coronavrius recovery Roadmap, Create a tailor made financial support mechanism for the Arts sector & Clarify how Social Distancing will affect arts spaces like Theatres and Concert Venues.

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In their plan to restart the economy, the government has addressed hospitality sectors such as restaurants and cinemas. They've stated how the sports will be resumed after the lockdown period. But there has been no mention of the arts. On 13 May Robert Jenrick was directly asked to pledge to protect this industry, which could be without income longer than other sectors, but he failed to give a clear answer. This further shows how the arts are being overlooked. The Govt must show more support for arts.

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Parliament debated this topic

This topic was debated on 25 June 2020

Watch the petition 'Offer more support to the arts (particularly Theatres and Music) amidst COVID-19' being debated

Government responded

This response was given on 20 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.

Read the response in full

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:

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

MPs debate Government support for culture, media and sport in light of covid-19

On 8 September, MPs debated the Government's spending on support measures for culture, media and sport during and after the covid-19 pandemic.

Watch the debate here:

Read the transcript of the debate here:

###Further information

Find out how to get involved in the work of the UK Parliament:

Find out about the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee:

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MPs to debate spending by DCMS on support measures in the House of Commons

MPs will debate spending of the Department for Digital, Culture and Media and Sport on support measures for the DCMS sectors during and after the covid-19 pandemic in the main House of Commons Chamber this Thursday 8 October. The subject of the debate has been determined by the Backbench Business Committee.

This will be a general debate. General debates allow MPs to debate important issues, however they do not end in a vote nor can they change the law.

The debate will start sometime after 2pm, following the conclusion of the debate on planning reform and house building targets.

Watch here this Thursday:
Find out more about how Parliamentary debates work:
Find out more about the Backbench Business Committee:

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:

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:

Read the transcript:

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:

This is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work:

Find out more about how petitions work:

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:

A transcript will be published the following day here: