Chris Elmore MP has condemned the UK Government’s ‘one size fits all’ approach to furlough and called on them to extend the scheme to support those sectors – such as the arts – where full reopening is still some time away.

The UK Government this week announced a belated emergency rescue package for the arts, with £59 million of the funding earmarked for cinemas, galleries, theatres and music venues.  But this funding is a drop in the ocean with the  Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Wales, Nick Capaldi, recently warning that the Millennium Centre in Cardiff alone could lose £20 million over the current financial year.

With social distancing limiting audience numbers for some time to come, it’s likely the sector will struggle to get back on its feet, particularly as the furlough scheme begins to wind down.

Chris Elmore MP said:

“The arts are not simply nice-to-have – they contribute billions of pounds to our economy.  During lockdown, we’ve also seen how important they are for wellbeing, with tens of millions of people tuning in online productions.

In Wales, we punch well above our weight in terms of our cultural offering and tourists come from all over the world to visit our theatres and listen to and watch our fantastic theatre performers.  It would be an astonishing act of cultural and economic vandalism to risk losing the talent that we have developed over the years.  More must be done to protect this vital sector”.

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