Mayor welcomes arts investment package and calls for all parts of London’s creative sector to be supported

By July 7, 2020NEWS
  • Mayor calls for the “whole cast” of London’s culture and creative industries to be helped by Government funding, “not just the headline acts”
  • New research estimates that the impact of COVID-19 on London’s culture and creative industries could cost the economy £16.3bn and put 151,000 jobs at risk
  • The government must address the ‘hidden cost’ to the creative supply chain, which is facing more than 40,000 job losses

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has welcomed the announcement of nearly £1.6bn to support the arts through the pandemic, but has warned that all aspects of culture and the creative industries will need access to support due the widespread impact of COVID-19.

Without Government support, the capital had been predicted to lose one in six of its creative jobs by the end of 2020 and suffer a £14.6bn loss to its economy. New research by the Greater London Authority, architecture and urbanism practice We Made That and economy specialists PRD estimated a further ‘hidden impact’ of £1.7bn cost on businesses in the creative industries’ supply chain. These businesses face an uncertain future as they wait to see if they too will benefit from Government support.

The majority of London’s culture and creative industries have completely closed down because of COVID-19, with theatres, music venues and performance spaces shutting their doors. As well as impacting on the venues and their staff, this is hitting a huge range of businesses behind the scenes – from lighting and audio-visual firms and set designers, to textile wholesalers and prop hire.

Manufacturing, construction and logistics companies are among the wide range of industries across the country that also supply the capital’s creative industries, and are being affected by its near shut-down. Today’s research estimates that the entire supply chain of the creative industries faces losing 82,400 jobs and seeing £3.3bn wiped off the value of London’s economy without specific support. This would mean that total the impact of COVID-19 on London’s culture and creative industries could cost the economy £16.3bn and put 151,000 jobs at risk.

This supply chain will be crucial to getting the creative economy back up and running, but many of the businesses involved fear they will not be categorised as ‘cultural organisations’ and therefore not be eligible for Government grants and loans. That’s why the Mayor is calling on the Government to provide clarity to both the sector and all aspects of its supply chain – insisting that one cannot survive without the other.

It is hoped that business will increase as parts of the sector, such as museums and galleries, begin opening, but the recovery process will be very slow and large portions of the cultural industries will be unable to open for the foreseeable future, extending the impact on their supply chains. The Mayor is urging the Government to ensure that funding is available to businesses in the creative industries’ supply chain, and ensure that the funding does not extend inequality in the arts, to extend the furlough scheme for the creative industries, and provide support for freelancers through the extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

London’s culture and creative industries generate £58.4bn and provide one in six jobs in the capital, so will be integral to recovery after the coronavirus crisis. Ahead of the Government announcement last night, the Mayor has already been doing everything he could to support the industries through a £2.3m emergency fund. This included £1.6m to support thousands of tenants across the capital’s artist studios, helping the creative industries’ supply chain. The Mayor is also providing help and advice to venues and creatives through the Culture at Risk Office and the London Growth Hub, and launched Pay It Forward London to help customers buy goods and services in advance.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m pleased to see that the Government has finally got round to acknowledging the vital role the culture and creative industries play as both a driver of the economy and key part of the fabric of life in our city.

“The loans and funding for our cultural organisations are welcome and long overdue, but I’m concerned to see no mention of support for the thousands of freelancers who work across the sector or the businesses in the creative supply chain, without whom our theatres, galleries and venues simply wouldn’t function.

“London’s creative and cultural sector led the world before the pandemic and will play a vital role in our economic and social recovery but it is essential that the Government support the whole cast, not just the headline acts.”

Sabinna Rachimova, Founder and director, SABINNA, said: “The UK has a long history of manufacturing, which contributed to Britain’s economic success. It’s great to see that there are more and more independent designers and small brands who are focusing on ethical local production and manufacturing within their fashion supply chains. Unfortunately, these supply chains and partnerships are now at risk. The pandemic has affected the fashion industry on all levels. When talking about support and rescue packages for our industry, everyone across the supply chain needs to be considered.”

Tim Dellow, Co-founder, Transgressive Records, said: “This is welcome news, but it’s important support is extended to the entire music ecosystem. Live music performances are not only valuable income streams for artists, but often support a large team of freelancers, tour managers, sound engineers and transport and logistics workers. They are also a chance to build artists’ careers and market around events where there is already a large audience. The UK music industry alone generates significantly more than, for example, the UK fishing industry. It is essential that government continues to recognise this value and supports the ‘behind the scenes’ businesses as well as the public facing ones.”

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