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Performing Arts: Coronavirus

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 25th March 2020.

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Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if the Government will introduce a compensation scheme for performers, events organisers and others affected by the cancellation of performances and festivals as a result of covid-19 pandemic.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State

Last week, the Secretary of State and Minister for Digital and Culture took calls with the creative and cultural sectors amongst others to understand the challenges that they are facing. Officials are continuing to engage with organisations daily in order to best understand how Government can support the cultural and creative sectors and regular Ministerial engagement is taking place.

Arts Council England also announced measures in support of it’s funded organisations last week. More information for those this may apply to can be found here:

Businesses that experience increased costs and disrupted cash flow as a result of Coronavirus are being supported. The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has already announced a host of measures to help businesses in this period with £330bn worth of government backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses across the UK, delivered through two schemes:

  • Support for liquidity amongst large firms, with a major new scheme being launched by the Bank of England to help them with any disruption to their cash flows through loans.

  • Increasing the amount businesses can borrow through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme from £1.2m to £5m and ensuring businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as the Government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.

£20bn of direct fiscal support for businesses in England through tax relief and cash grants to help business manage cash flow. This includes:

  • Cash grants of up to £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000.

  • Cash grants of £10,000 for several hundred thousand small businesses eligible for business rate relief and rural rate relief.

  • Entirely removing all eligible properties in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector from business rates, so that no pub, hotel, or high street shop will pay business rates for 12 months.

  • This comes on top of compensation for businesses having to cover Statutory Sick Pay that the Chancellor announced in the Budget.

As part of the government’s emergency legislation measures, Statutory Sick Pay will be available from day one for those affected by coronavirus. Anyone on zero-hour contracts who may not be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay will be able to claim Universal Credit or New Style Employment and Support Allowance, dependent on their circumstances.

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