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Coronavirus: Stephen Fry and Grayson Perry warn UK could become ‘cultural wasteland’

'We must act, and act fast'

Isobel Lewis
Monday 27 April 2020 11:24 BST
Rishi Sunak pledges extra £14.5bn to the NHS to tackle coronavirus in the UK

Stephen Fry, Grayson Perry and Anish Kapoor have signed a letter warning the government that the UK could become a “cultural wasteland” without financial support for the creative industries amid the coronavirus crisis.

More than 400 leading figures in the arts attributed their names to the letter by the Creative Industries Federation. They argue that the arts and individuals in the business will need “urgent cash support” if they are to recover from the crisis.

“Our creative and cultural sector is in crisis,” they wrote to the Chancellor and Health Secretary.

“A Creative Industries Federation survey of 2,000 creative organisations and freelancers revealed that one in seven creative organisations believe they can last only until the end of April on existing financial reserves. Only half think their reserves will last beyond June.

The letter continued: “We cannot allow the UK to lose half of its creative businesses and become a cultural wasteland. The creative industries are one of the UK’s biggest success stories, previously growing at five times the rate of the wider economy.

“The creative sector will also be critical to driving the UK’s economic recovery – and transforming lives for the better – as we re-build. We must act, and act fast.”

Also among the signatories were Nick Cave, Jamie Cullum, Paloma Faith and Simon Callow, the latter of whom added: “Since the beginning of time, people have gathered to listen to music and stories together. Creativity is what makes us human. A virus cannot stop time.”

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