the arts

United Kingdom Unveils Nearly $2 Billion Government Relief Package for the Arts

A staff member walks through London’s National Gallery on July 4, prior to its reopening on July 8, following Britain’s easing of COVID-19 quarantine restrictions. Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

As the coronavirus quarantine continues through the summer months, Britain is pledging to keep the United Kingdom’s arts and cultural organizations afloat to the tune of £1.57 billion, or around $1.96 billion. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the British government announced the relief package on Sunday evening, after months of lobbying from the industry and its unions.

At a glance, the package contains £880 million, or roughly $1 billion, in grants to be split between organizations like “theaters, music venues, heritage sites, museums, galleries and independent cinemas,” with a further £270 million, or $336 million, available in potential loans. Other funds will be set aside to support “England’s national cultural institutions and English Heritage,” construction projects and infrastructure.

According to the Guardian, many in the arts were pleasantly surprised by the package. “Let’s drill down into the detail but my first reaction is absolute relief and gratitude,” Quiz writer and playwright James Graham, a vocal proponent of government relief for the industry, told them. “I think it is a surprisingly ambitious package, especially when you compare it to some of our European neighbors.”

United Kingdom Unveils Nearly $2 Billion Arts Relief Package