South's arts industry reacts to £1.57bn emergency lifeline from government

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Mel Bloor


Arts venues across the Thames Valley and South East have been reacting to the announcement that the industry will be given a £1.57bn support package from the government.

Leaders in the industry have mostly welcomed the government support - made up of grants and loans - which was unveiled by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Sunday evening.

The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, which announced last month that it won't reopen until 10 December, has welcomed the announcement.

It says the move is an 'incredibly positive step to help our colleagues across the industry and cultural organisations in Southampton'.

Meanwhile the Chief Executive of Lighthouse in Poole, Elspeth McBain, says it comes after 'weeks and weeks of uncertainty and great anxiety' but that there were still 'lots of questions'.

Glyndebourne opera house near Lewes in East Sussex says the financial help is now 'essential' for the survival of the UK's arts industry, following the pandemic.

Guidance for a phased return of the performing arts sectors is expected to be published by the government shortly.

The package comes after some theatres – which are not yet able to stage live performances – closed down, making staff redundant, amid the pandemic.

Museums have also said they face an uncertain future, while 1,500 artists and acts signed a letter to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden calling for a road map for the live music industry.

The government said the money “represents the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture” and will help struggling institutions “stay afloat while their doors are closed”.