Coronavirus: Arts sector won’t recover from pandemic without government support, Scottish Labour says

Scottish Labour has called on government to provide ‘creative arts recovery package’ to help industry

Isobel Lewis
Friday 03 July 2020 12:00
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The arts and cultural sector won’t survive without a clear plan for support from the government, Scottish Labour has warned.

With the coronavirus pandemic bringing the live music, theatre and art industries to a standstill and leaving thousands of workers without job security, the party urged the Scottish government to provide a “creative arts recovery package”.

Scottish Labour’s culture spokesperson Claire Baker said: “The pressures on our creative sector are mounting every day, and the support that the Scottish Government should have put in place weeks ago has not materialised.

“These businesses and venues were the first to close when the lockdown began, and while most staff were furloughed, with no end in sight, redundancies are being announced.”

She continued: “We know the recovery from Covid-19 for these industries will be particularly difficult, and they cannot afford to lose out on the vital revenue they need from ticket sales and bookings over the next few months.

“We need a Scotland-specific creative arts recovery package, with wide ranging avenues of support, or the arts sector will not recover. The lack of action is risking the future of performance venues, and the Scottish Government must now take serious and immediate action.”

In April, it was announced that Edinburgh’s five international festivals, including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, would not be taking place due to the pandemic. The August arts festival is attended by 4.4 million people each year.

Across the UK, workers in the creative industries have called on the government to provide guidance on how arts buildings can reopen with social distancing measures in place without losing huge amounts of money.

The Royal Albert Hall CEO Craig Hassall warned that without financial support from the UK government, the 150-year-old venue could go bust in the next year, leaving hundreds of people without jobs.

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