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Report on Impact of Covid-19 on DCMS Sectors published

23 July 2020

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee says Covid-19 crisis presents biggest threat to UK's cultural infrastructure, institutions and workforce in a generation.

Government has consistently failed to recognise scale of challenge facing culture, sport and tourism

The Government has been ‘too slow' to respond to the needs of the DCMS sectors during the Covid-19 outbreak with many organisations facing an “existential threat” to their survival, say MPs.

In a wide-ranging report, the DCMS Committee finds Ministers have consistently failed to recognise the scale of the challenge that Covid-19 presents to culture, sport and tourism.

MPs say the response to the crisis by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has been hampered by the Department's lack of spending power and a fundamental misunderstanding across Government of the needs, structures and vital social contribution of sectors such as the creative industries.

DCMS remains one of the smallest government departments by budget and staffing and has seen one of the highest turn-over of Secretaries of State of any, with Oliver Dowden as ninth in the role since May 2010.

The Report finds the loss of performing arts institutions and cultural workers would put at risk the Government's 'levelling up' agenda and reverse decades of progress in cultural provision, diversity and inclusion.

Chair's comments

DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said:

“We are witnessing the biggest threat to our cultural landscape in a generation.

The failure of the government to act quickly has jeopardised the future of institutions that are part of our national life and the livelihoods of those who work for them.

Our report points to a department that has been treated as a ‘Cinderella' by government when it comes to spending, despite the enormous contribution that the DCMS sectors make to the economy and job creation. We can see the damaging effect that has had on the robustness and ability of these areas to recover from the Covid crisis. The £1.57 bn support is welcome but for many help has come too late.

We urge the government to act on our recommendations, to recognise the value these sectors provide and imagine how much bleaker the outcome for all without their survival.”

Further information

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