Emergency funding needed for cultural organisations affected by coronavirus closures, says Committee
23 March 2020
The DCMS Committee has called for urgent Government support for cultural organisations amid closures and uncertainty for sporting events affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The charitable sector and tourism should also be given extra support.
Julian Knight, DCMS Committee Chair, is also calling on the Government to use Public Service Broadcasting to put across messages to the public illustrating how they must act in a responsible way to limit the impact of the coronavirus.
DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said:
"We're looking at an extremely urgent situation for people across a number of sectors affected by the coronavirus outbreak whether in our cultural organisations, charities, tourism or sport. We have asked the DCMS Secretary of State, Rt Hon Oliver Dowden MP, for answers by Wednesday.
"Whether you're a casual worker affected by a cancellation or closure or a charity hit by a cash flow problem, you need help. We're calling on ministers to make emergency funding available now.
"In this fast-moving situation, we're also calling on the Government to harness the power of Public Service Broadcasting to help limit the impact of the coronavirus. Visual images of social distancing would make guidelines crystal clear and underline the urgency. With a brief window to act, public information broadcasts across our TV and radio networks would get the message across fast."
MPs are asking whether financial support is available for those in creative industries affected. The UK's cultural sector relies on freelancers, the self-employed and casual workers, many of whom require urgent financial support following cancellations and closures.
MPs have questioned why the Government has not intervened to postpone sporting events and fixtures, asking under what circumstances it would take action. The DCMS Department is also asked to confirm that clubs that have taken individual action would be eligible for support.
The Committee has also asked for confirmation on arrangements that have been made for upcoming sporting events with international competitors, and in particular, the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and the British Grand Prix.
The Government is urged to ensure no charity is forced to stop its work as a result of financial losses due to the coronavirus outbreak. MPs are calling for confirmation that, as employers, charities will be eligible to benefit from the measures announced for businesses by the Chancellor.
As tour operators and tourist companies face restrictions and shrinkage of activity, MPs have asked whether these businesses would benefit from access to government loans and what other urgent support would be available, for example, in regard to large scale redundancy.