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Government needs to do more to help creative industries sector says Chair of DCMS Committee

5 June 2020

Julian Knight, Chair of the DCMS Committee, has criticised a response from Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to questions about government support for sectors hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport  will be represented before the Committee next week by Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage, who will give evidence to its inquiry.

Chair's comments

Chair of the Committee Julian Knight MP said:

"It's clear that the government needs to be doing much more to support the people in our creative industries who contribute so much to our national life but now find their livelihoods in jeopardy because they're not eligible for government support schemes. It's a matter of concern that ministers don't have the figures on how many people in this sector find themselves without help.

Instead of championing them by ensuring that their needs are fairly met by the support schemes on offer, the Culture Secretary is defending the 'difficult decisions' the Treasury is making, saying it has to 'draw a line' somewhere on those schemes.

Freelancers, company directors, the self-employed have told us about the devastating consequences for them and the creative businesses they work for. They are looking to government for the necessary support to survive this crisis and we'll be looking for answers next week from Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage."

The letter from the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is a response to further questions from the DCMS Committee arising from Oliver Dowden's oral evidence session on the work of the department on 22 April. The response covers a range of areas including: funding criteria for charities; 5G misinformation; the creative industries and Covid-19 support schemes; digital inclusion; engagement with the creative industries sector; funding for Rugby League.

Creative Industries and Covid-19 support schemes: The Department for DCMS confirmed that it was working to measure the level of creative industries eligibility for government Covid-19 support schemes however official data did not allow a full analysis and there had been emphasis on surveys to understand eligibility and access. One survey found that while 42% of Creative Industries businesses believed they were eligible for the Job Retention Scheme, 39% believed they were not eligible.

Further information

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