Cultural Recovery Fund to receive £300 million boost in Budget

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has confirmed the funding

A crowd at the O2 Forum Kentish Town in London in 2018. Credit: Ollie Millington/Redferns

Beleaguered music venues across the UK could receive a boost after it was confirmed that the Cultural Recovery Fund will receive a boost of £300 million in tomorrow’s spring Budget.

The £1.57bn support package, which was announced last July, provides financial support for music venues, independent cinemas, museums, galleries, theatres and heritage sites as they weather the financial impact of coronavirus.

Now, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has confirmed that the funding will be boosted by £300m from £1.57bn to £1.87bn in tomorrow’s Budget (March 3).


“It’s a relief we can look ahead now so this funding is not just about survival, but planning & preparing for reopening of theatres, galleries and gigs,” Dowden wrote on Twitter.

The money marks the biggest one-off investment in UK culture and follows other measures taken to help companies, institutions and organisations survive during the pandemic, including loans, business rate holidays and the coronavirus job retention scheme.

The first recipients were announced last October, with over 1,385 theatres, museums and cultural organisations across England benefitting from a £257million chunk of the fund.


However, the Music Venue Trust has since highlighted 20 venues that are still at risk of closure after they failed to qualify for funding.

Music fans are being encouraged to donatebuy merchwrite to their local MP for support, or simply spread the word for venues in danger on social media with the hashtag #SaveThe20.

“The crisis is nearing its final lap, but we need to make sure these venues finish the race,” said Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd. “With the support of artists and audiences, we have fought our way through the last 11 months venue by venue, case by case, trying to make sure that we are able to reopen every venue safely.

There is some light at the end of the tunnel, with gigs, clubbing and perhaps even festivals tipped to return from June 21 as laid out in the government’s post-coronavirus roadmap to recovery.

But even if venues do re-open, figures from the UK’s live music industry have warned that a “massive” amount of jobs and taxable income will be lost to the EU under the current Brexit deal.

It comes after Boris Johnson’s Brexit trade deal failed to secure visa-free travel for UK artists and their crew last December, prompting huge backlash from within the industry.