DCMS Committee Inquiry report and recommendations
The Department for Culture Media and Sport Committee has published its first report following the inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on the sectors it covers.
The report brings together the evidence submitted to the inquiry, including submissions by Theatres Trust and many other theatre organsiations. The committee warns that Covid-19 crisis presents the biggest threat to the UK's cultural and sporting infrastructure, institutions and workforce in a generation, echoing what we said in our submission.
The committee concludes the report with four key recommendations - points 1 and 3 being of most interest to the theatre sector:
- The performing arts need a sector-specific deal that provides continued support for cultural workers, including freelancers and small companies; clear, if conditional, timelines for reopening and technological solutions to enable audiences to return without social distancing; and long-term support, including tax reliefs, to rebuild audience figures and investment.
- DCMS should establish a fund to help people whose activity levels have been hit by the lockdown restrictions.
- Extend the furlough scheme for seasonal workers in the tourism sector as well as those cultural industries and professional sports that are unable to generate revenue until mass gatherings are permitted again.
- We call on HM Treasury to ensure DCMS is sufficiently resourced to take the lead on tackling digital exclusion.
Theatres Trust welcomes the recommendations by the DCMS Committee Inquiry. Although the government's £1.57bn investment in arts, culture and heritage is extremely welcome, it will still leave many parts of the sector at risk, including smaller theatres and freelancers. Publication of an indicative 'no earlier than' date for Stage 5 of the Performing Arts Roadmap would allow theatres and producers to plan meaningfully and a sector-specific deal for the performing arts would help protect against a further loss of jobs, a backwards step in inclusion in the arts and the devastating loss of more of the UK’s wonderful theatres.