Mayor announces support for London culture venues

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Culture venues in London facing bankruptcy as the coronavirus lockdown stretches their reserves will get a boost from today, as the Mayor announced a new support fund.

Sadiq Khan has earmarked £2.3 million for grassroots music venues, artists’ workshops, LGBT+ spaces and independent cinemas – with a donation from finance company Bloomberg.

Creative industries add £52 billion to London’s economy, and account for one in six jobs in the capital.

But most businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, as shows and events have been cancelled under the lockdown .

Workers in the sector are often self-employed – meaning they can’t access the Government’s 80% pay furlough scheme, and will rely on Universal Credit if they can’t find work.

The Mayor today called on ministers to do more for a vital part of London’s economy.

He said: “These industries are so important to the fabric of our city during the day and night, and they will play a key role in helping us to recover from this public health crisis.”

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Mr Khan said the Government must “step forward and provide the comprehensive support this industry needs” to ensure venues stay afloat.

He has pledged £1.5 million to help 200 artists studio spaces with thousands of tenants in the capital.

There is £450,000 to prop up almost 150 gig spaces, and more than 50 LGBT+ venues could access funds from a £225,000 pot of cash.

Beverley Whitrick, strategic director of the Music Venue Trust, said London businesses are worst impacted because of high running costs.

She said the new funding would help her team do “everything possible to sustain these venues”.

City Hall will also give £150,000 to up to 25 independent cinemas in the city.

Film London chief executive Adrian Wootton said independent cinemas are “community hubs” where people “come together and celebrate stories that reflect our lives on screen”.

Deputy Mayor for Culture Justine Simons said culture is “part of London’s DNA” and a vital part of capital’s appeal that must be protected.

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