The UK's live industry has backed a renewed call from the DCMS select committee for robust government action to save the culture sector from collapse.
It is calling on the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to use the latest pause to implement a number of recommendations that would enable venues and stadiums to plan a return of audiences to full capacity when it is safe to do so.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is due to announce fresh measures today to minimuse unemployment in the wake of the latest Covid-19 restrictions, and the committee has warned the sector is facing mass redundancies without an extension to the job retention scheme for the arts and leisure sectors.
DCMS committee chair Julian Knight MP said: “We recognise that rising cases of Covid-19 mean that plans for a limited return of crowds to sporting events have to be put on hold. However, this has created an opportunity for ministers to develop a robust strategy that will allow for the safe return of audiences to events – particularly in our theatres and performance venues - when the time is right.
“We know that without the ability to get in audiences in greater numbers, many theatres simply can’t afford to keep running. The collapse of such vital pillars in our cultural landscape would be devastating.
“That’s why I plan to urge the government today in the House Of Commons to acknowledge the dire prospects facing this sector and commit to its support, firstly by acknowledging the specific recommendations made by this committee and secondly by providing sector-specific funding to allow them to be implemented.”
Without real funding for our employees, freelancers and supporting businesses, our industry simply won't survive
Phil Bowdery, Concert Promoters Association
Phil Bowdery, chairman of the Concert Promoters Association and executive president of touring international music, Live Nation, said: “We welcome the DCMS select committee again calling on the government for a conditional date for reopening, greater clarity of guidance and further funding for our industry. Today Rishi Sunak must provide the support that the UK’s Live Music industry desperately needs. We support over 210,000 jobs and previous promises of support are yet to materialise. Without real funding for our employees, freelancers and supporting businesses our industry simply won’t survive.”
National Arenas Association chair Lucy Noble said: “80% of our staff across our 23 arenas have been furloughed and as the scheme is coming to an end we are being forced into some decisions that we never wanted to make. While we cannot operate at full capacity, most of our shows cannot go ahead and an extension of support for our staff would be enormously welcomed.”
Music Venue Trust chief Mark Davyd said: “This is a vital report from the DCMS Select Committee that comes at a crunch point for the UK’s grassroots artists, staff and venues. We strongly urge the government to act in its recommendations.”