It has been revealed that the arts and culture sector wll receive a significant boost in this week’s budget, with over £400 million earmarked by the chancellor. Rishi Sunak is preparing to reveal his budget after just a short time to prepare compared to past years. This year's budget has also been far more challenging than in past years due to the enormous negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic over the last year.
When restrictions start to ease over the coming weeks, businesses in the arts and culture sector will be able to reopen. They will also benefit from the massive injection of cash put aside for them as part of the budget. This includes money for art galleries, museums, and theatres, all of which have been hit hard by the pandemic.
A ‘significant driver’ in the country’s recovery
The chancellor described the arts and culture sector as a 'significant driver' in the country's recovery. In total, he has put aside £408.8 million for the sector. It is reported that £300 million of this will be going into the Culture Recovery Fund, £90 million to museums and cultural bodies, and £18.8 million for cultural projects within communities.
Mr Sunak stated that it was vital to support the sector, which he said employs over 700,000 people nationwide. In addition to the money put aside for England’s arts and culture sector, a further £77 million has been set aside for the devolved administrations to provide additional support for their arts and culture sectors.
Another sector that has been devastated by the pandemic is the hospitality sector, which has been ravaged over the past year. The chancellor is set to announce £150 million put aside to help communities to take over local pubs in a bid to save them from permanent closure.
There is also speculation over whether the chancellor will announce an extension of the VAT reduction for the hospitality sector to help the industry get back on its feet. The reduction of VAT to 5% is set to finish at the end of March unless Mr Sunak announces an extension in his budget.
Bleak figures for the economy
The budget will be delivered amid bleak news when it comes to the UK’s economy. It was revealed in official figures last week that the economy contracted by close to 10%. In addition, the final quarter of 2020 saw unemployment rising to more than 5%.