More than 400 figures in the UK’s creative industries have signed a letter sent to the Chancellor and Culture Secretary warning that the country come become a “cultural wasteland” if more is not done to help creative workers during the coronavirus crisis.
Signatories include Stephen Fry, Grayson Perry, Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, Simon Callow, Anish Kapoor, Meera Syal, Jamie Cullum, Jeremy Deller, Paloma Faith, Johnny Marr, Imogen Heap, Jonathan Pryce, PJ Harvey, Stephen Hough, Katie Melua, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Sophie Dahl.
The letter has been penned by the Creative Industries Federation (CIF), the body repping the country’s creative sector. It claims that “more than 50% of creative organisations and professionals have already lost 100% of their income” and that “one in seven creative organizations only have reserves to last until the end of April” while “only half have reserves that will last beyond June”.
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The UK government has put in place numerous measures to prop up businesses, including covering 80% of the the wages of furloughed staff during the crisis and a package of grants and loans, but CIF claims that there are thousands falling through gaps in the schemes.
The org’s CEO Caroline Norbury said the sector was in “deep trouble”. At last count, the UK’s creative industries were worth a combined $139BN to the UK economy and employed more than 3.2 million people, according to government data.
“Creative organisations and professionals need cash, and they need it now. Whilst government support measures for businesses and the self-employed are welcome, we know that there are still thousands of creative organisations and freelancers who are falling through the gaps, and who simply will not get through this crisis without urgent cash support,” she added.
“The creative arts have always been a refuge, an important voice in times of joy, pain and heartache. They unite people in their shared experiences. and make people feel less alone, punctuating our memories and articulating the feelings we don’t have the words for,” commented musician Paloma Faith.
“The government needs to understand that culture is not the icing on the cake – it is the cake, which provides delight and nourishment, and defines who and what we are,” added actor Simon Callow.
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