Creative UK calls for government support
20 December 2021
Reporter: Sandra Giorgetti
The escalation of COVID cases caused by the Omicron variant has thrown the creative sector once again into a period of uncertainty and financial risk.
Ticket sales and attendance at entertainment and cultural events have fallen significantly in light of official recommendations, with LIVE reporting a 27% no show rate and the Music Venue Trust reporting a drop in average gross income of 27%.
In a statement from its chief executive, Creative UK has called for targeted emergency support from the government.
Caroline Norbury looks to the government to provide:
- Financial assistance for freelancers—a significant part of the creative workforce—impacted by loss of work, self-isolation and illness, and a return of the furlough scheme for those impacted in full-time employment.
- Urgent support for businesses unable to maintain their income in the coming months, including the extension of the Culture Recovery Fund and grants for small businesses unable to access this support. Treasury should also release money to the devolved governments to ensure that the Creative Industries in the nations are able to navigate more stringent pandemic regulations.
- Extension of business rate relief exemptions in England from 67% to 100%, and repayments delayed, with the UK government following the examples set by the devolved administrations.
- Certainty that the government’s Live Events Reinsurance Scheme covers the situation arising from Omicron and COVID-19 related cancellations.
- A reintroduction of the 5% emergency VAT rate for live events and removal of the planned VAT hike to 20% in April 2022.
Norbury said, "without introducing immediate measures there is a substantial risk that much of the government’s work to support the Creative Industries during the pandemic to date will be undone. We must ensure this does not happen."