£59 million announced to help arts industry in Wales

The funding will help businesses like cinemas and theatres who have been closed since the beginning of lockdown. Credit: PA Images

Wales will receive £59 million from the UK Government to support the arts, culture and heritage industries.

It is part of a £1.57 billion UK-wide package to help the arts sector, where many business are under threat of closure because of the pandemic.

The money is intended for places like cinemas, theatres, galleries and music venues.

The funding comes after those in the industry warned they would need significant extra financial help to cope with the effects of the pandemic.

The Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart MP said there was "no time to lose in getting this money to the front line."

Some galleries in England are beginning to reopen from July 9. Credit: PA Images

Many in the arts sector have been facing an uncertain future because of the coronavirus pandemic. Theatres, cinemas and galleries have had to shut their doors because of lockdown leaving them in worrying financial positions.

The Wales Millennium Centre previously said they will remain closed until next year and that 250 jobs could be at risk because of the "devastating" impact of the virus. Theatr Clwyd in Mold, north Wales, has also expressed concern and said that in the best case scenario they face a £2 million loss in income. 

The Music Venue Trust (MVT), which represents hundreds of grassroots music venues, previously warned the UK government that an urgent cash injection of £50m was needed to prevent mass closures in the near future.

Cinemas in England have been told they can reopen in July. Credit: PA Images

UK Government have now announced a fund of £1.57 billion for the sector, with £59 million of that going to Wales.

Simon Hart, Secretary of State for Wales, said: "The Welsh Government has said that it doesn’t have the firepower to support the arts in Wales, so the UK Government is providing £59 million so that they can do just that.

“Many arts, culture and heritage organisations across the UK are facing hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and those in Wales are no exception.

“We have no time to lose in getting this money to the front line and I’ll be pushing the Welsh Government to ensure that happens”.

UK Government hope the money will provide a lifeline to organisations and prevent them from closing their doors.

Wales Millennium Centre have said they will be shut until 2021 and 250 jobs are at risk. Credit: PA Images

The National Theatre welcomed the funding and said they were "extremely thankful to see such a strong vote of confidence from" UK Government. 

The Director of the National Theatre, Rufus Norris said: "We feel very positive that this major investment will reach and sustain the vital talent and infrastructure – both organisations and freelancers – which make British theatre truly world-leading."

Theatres were wrapped in pink 'Live Theatre Missing' tape as venues remain closed due to the covid crisis. Credit: PA Images

Welsh Government have already made some grants available to those within the arts, including a £7m Arts Resilience Fund led by the Arts Council of Wales and a £1m Cultural Resilience Fund for places like museums.

In Wales, outdoors visitors attractions can reopen from July 6 meaning places like St Fagans National Museum of History are planning to open again in August. Two metre social distancing will remain in force at places that do reopen.

Indoors venues like cinemas in England and Scotland have been told they can reopen in July.