Covid emergency funds for culture

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A compensation package worth £65 million for culture and major events that have lost income due to the Covid-19 pandemic has been announced by the Scottish Government.

Within the total pot, £31.5 million is allocated to cultural organisations, £19.8 million to the events sector, £10 million to freelancers, £2 million for national perorming companies, and £1.7 million for museums, galleries and heritage.

Culture Secretary Angus Robertson said: ‘The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is once again causing disruption and uncertainty in the culture and events sector, who have already been hit so hard by its impact.

‘These additional funds will help protect the livelihoods of the people working in the sector – and allow us to give further support to freelancers, culture organisations, venues and our national performing companies.’

Welcoming the announcement, Creative Scotland said the £31.5 million pot is specifically for cultural organisations which have lost income due to cancellation or deferral of performances or cultural activity, as a result of the necessary steps taken to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

Iain Munro, Creative Scotland chief executive, said: ‘The winter period is a critical time for many cultural organisations when a significant proportion of their annual income is generated, so this emergency funding from the Scottish Government is a lifeline for them.’

Creative Scotland’s guidance for the Cancellation Fund for Cultural Organisations will be published at 2pm on Wednesday January 19. The fund will then open for applications at 2pm on Wednesday January 26 and payments to organisations will begin from January 31.

Mr Munro added: ‘Our Cancellation Fund for Creative Freelancers is live, with applications open from January 6, and more information on support for organisations and venues will follow as soon as possible.’

VisitScotland director of events Paul Bush said: ‘EventScotland is currently working with the Scottish Government and the Event Industry Advisory Group (EIAG) to determine the best way of distributing the funding to ensure we get support to those in need across the sector, and details on this will be shared shortly.’

Funds worth £27 million for culture and £17 million for events were announced by the First Minister on 29 December 29. This was additional to the £20 million of business support funding for culture and events that First Minister announced on December 14.

With the utilisation of an additional £1 million of underspend from the existing events budget, this creates a total funding package of £65 million.