Venues and theatres across Scotland will collapse and thousands of jobs will be lost without a significant intervention from the Scottish Government, Scottish Labour’s spokesperson for culture and tourism, Claire Baker MSP (pictured), warned today.
The creative sector has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic with all venues closing their doors in mid-March.
With lockdown being lifted in phases, new restrictions mean that for many it won’t be financially viable to re-open without additional support.
On Saturday, Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival was awarded £1.25million to ‘bounce back’ in 2021 and the same type of intervention is much needed across the wider sector.
In a letter to the Cabinet Secretary for economy, fair work and culture, Fiona Hyslop, Ms Baker highlights that a number of venues have already announced the cancellation or postponement of their Christmas shows this year, which for many are their financial lifeline.
Ms Baker has asked that the Scottish Government consider the creation of an industry specific ‘Creative Arts Recovery Package’ to provide the financial support needed to ensure the survival of venues, performers and companies.
Claire Baker MSP, Scottish Labour Spokesperson for Culture and Tourism said:
“After three months of lockdown, we are reaching a crucial point for our creative sector.
“They were the first to close and they will be the last to open.
“Emergency support has been welcome but we need to see a longer-term commitment to recovery of the sector if we are to avoid the collapse of major venues and companies, which would see thousands of jobs being lost.
“Whilst I welcome the support for next year’s Edinburgh Fringe, this shows an understanding of the pressure the sector is under and so support must be provided across the board to secure a future for venues, performers and companies.
“Grant and loan support given to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last week was welcome, but there are many more companies and venues in exactly the same precarious situation, who will need similar support, or else they will have no alternative but to close permanently.
“What the industry needs is a creative arts recovery package, with an innovative mixture of support.
“Without it, the arts sector will not recovery and many of our iconic venues and performance companies will disappear.
“It could not be more urgent and that is why the Scottish Government must act now to secure a future of the world-renowned creative industry in Scotland.”