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The U.K. government is adding a further $40 million (£30 million) worth of funding to the Culture Recovery Fund. The development was made to assist organizations that may struggle due to the restrictions the Omicron variant is set to bring to the country.
The fund, which once stood at $40 million (£30 million), has been doubled to $80 million (£60 million) to support businesses in anticipation of potential closures amidst the festive period.
The increased amount was announced as part of Chancellor Of The Exchequer, Rishi Sunak’s, $1.3 billion (£1 billion) support package for U.K. businesses. $2 million (£1.5 million) of government funding will also be distributed through Arts Council England to support freelancers in the arts affected by the pandemic.
Theater chains in particular are having a difficult period with many productions halting due to positive COVID-19 cases among the cast and crew, including Cabaret starring Eddie Redmayne.
The U.K. as a whole recorded a record 119,789 cases for the 24 hours up to 9 am (GMT) on Thursday 23rd December. Wednesday is noted as the first time the UK recorded more than 100,000 Covid cases.
Rishi Sunak said on the development of the fund: “Our arts, culture and heritage sectors bring joy and enrichment to our day-to-day lives, and rarely more so than at Christmas. So we understand how devastating the uncertainty caused by Omicron has been.”
“This new funding, alongside the new grants of up to £6,000 we announced earlier this week, will support the sector as we together face this difficult time.”
“We’ve supported the cultural sector throughout the pandemic, and we’ll continue to do so.”
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The extra monies, out of the $2.7 billion (£2 billion) Cultural Recovery Fund pot is set to support museums, cinemas, theaters and heritage organizations, perhaps indicating restrictions may hit the U.K. that will further hinder indoor gatherings and events.
The U.K. government’s total £400 billion COVID-19 support package is said to be continuing aiding businesses until Spring of 2022 but will consider extending depending on the circumstances surrounding the development of the virus.
Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, added, “We are once again grateful to government for their support and investment which continues on an unprecedented scale to meet the challenges facing our arts and cultural organisations and creative freelancers.”
“We will work closely with the government to deliver funding at pace and will continue to support freelancers and cultural organisations to explore all available funding to help navigate these difficult times.”