Criteria announced for Government’s £270m arts loan scheme

The Government has announced the criteria arts organisations will have to meet in order to receive a share of its £270 million repayable finance scheme.

Applicants will be assessed against rigorous cultural and economic standards, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said.

Organisations will need to demonstrate national or international significance and prove they can engage with local communities through education and outreach.

They will also have to demonstrate their efficiency and that they have “ongoing viability for the future”.

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The money comes from the Government’s £1.57 billion funding package for the arts.

Each eligible organisation will be able to apply for a minimum of £3 million in funding on loan terms.

This includes a payment term of up to 20 years, an initial repayment holiday of up to four years and a 2% interest rate per annum.

Arts Council England will review applications, along with the British Film Institute, Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Decisions will be made by the independent Culture Recovery Board, chaired by Sir Damon Buffini.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We’ve already announced hundreds of millions in grants to help independent cinemas, local music venues and arts organisations in the heart of communities across the country.

“This repayable finance will be the helping hand some of our largest venues and attractions urgently need.

“We’re also investing £120 million to kickstart construction projects to renew our cultural infrastructure and important heritage sites.

“This Government is here for culture and this is another part of our plan to help it weather the Covid storm and come back stronger.”

The DCMS also announced details of further funding allocations including a £50 million Heritage Stimulus Fund from Historic England.

Money will go to restarting construction and maintenance on heritage sites and providing work for the sector’s specialists and contractors.

Sir Laurie Magnus, chairman of Historic England, said: “This further £50 million within the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund is essential for protecting our heritage.

“The Heritage Stimulus Fund will kickstart repair works at both nationally and locally cherished historic sites, protect livelihoods of skilled heritage professionals hit hardest by the pandemic and help to save vulnerable sites on our Heritage at Risk Register.

“This is an important step towards securing a sustainable future for our heritage and the people, often with years of irreplaceable experience, who work tirelessly to conserve it for us all.”