Creative sector facing ‘crippling inequalities’ without government support

Keiran Southern, PA

The creative sector is facing “crippling inequalities across the country” unless the Government provides further financial support, it has been claimed.

The Creative Industries Federation said workers outside London have been particularly impacted by the pandemic, which has had a catastrophic impact on the industry.

A survey of more than 800 workers and organisations carried out by the federation found since the start of the health crisis, 63% of respondents have seen their turnover decrease by more than half.

Glastonbury music festival was cancelled for a second successive year, handing another blow to the ailing arts sector (PA)

Freelancers and those based outside London have been among the hardest hit, according to the survey.

It found those outside the capital were 8% more likely to see decreases in turnover of more than 75%.

And, across all respondents, those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were more than twice as likely to report that it would take over 12 months to return to normal income levels if the pandemic were to end tomorrow.

The federation urged the Government to act in next month’s spring budget, including introducing a state-backed insurance scheme for live events and an extension of income support measures.

And the federation renewed its call for an “urgent” renegotiation with the EU to reinstate visa-free travel for artists.

Caroline Norbury, CEO of the federation, said the organisation’s survey showed many parts of the sector are still facing “real, significant hardship”.

She said: “It is particularly worrying that the impact is being felt hardest outside of London, where we know the creative sector is likely to take longer to bounce back.

“Our creative and cultural industries will be needed more than ever as we look to rebuild, spreading opportunity more widely and driving growth in all parts of the UK.

“Failure to act now could result in crippling inequalities across the country, with ramifications much broader than our sector.”

Last year the Government unveiled a £1.57 billion funding package designed to aid the stricken arts sector.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to outline his “road map” out of lockdown next week, which could provide hope to arts venues.

A Government spokesperson said: “We’ve invested more than £280 billion throughout the pandemic to protect millions of jobs and businesses – and extended our self-employed and furlough schemes through to April so that people have certainty that help is in place.

“Our £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund has already seen more than £1 billion offered to arts, heritage and performance organisations to support them through the pandemic, protecting tens of thousands of creative jobs across the UK.

“At the upcoming Budget, we’ll outline the next stages of our Plan for Jobs to support businesses and families. That has been our priority throughout the past year and it will be the priority for the year to come.”

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