Jeremy Deller and PJ Harvey among creatives urging government support for creative industries

After a survey found that half of UK creative businesses can only last until June on existing financial reserves, an open letter urges those in power to support the industry.

27 April 2020


A group of almost 500 leading creative figures including Grayson Perry, Jeremy Deller, Bob and Roberta Smith, Maria Balshaw, Johnny Marr, PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, Nadine Ijewere and Iwona Blazwick have signed an open letter to the UK government urging it to support the creative industries during and after the Covid-19 crisis. The letter has been penned by the Creative Industries Federation (CIF) after the results of its recent survey predicting a troubling future for the UK’s creative businesses, and suggests that the wake of the crisis could leave the UK as a “cultural wasteland”.

The letter written by the CEO of Creative Industries Federation and Creative England, Caroline Norbury, states that – according to a CIF survey of 2,000 creative organisations and freelancers – one in seven creative organisations believe they can last only until the end of April on existing financial reserves and only half think their reserves will last beyond June. Norbury adds that while there is some support, thousands are still falling through the gaps. The letter therefore urges the UK government to protect the creative industries from the potentially devastating impact of the crisis.

“We cannot allow the UK to lose half of its creative businesses and become a cultural wasteland,” the letter states, addressed to Oliver Dowden, secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, and Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer. “The creative industries are one of the UK’s biggest success stories, previously growing at five times the rate of the wider economy. The creative sector will also be critical to driving the UK’s economic recovery – and transforming lives for the better – as we re-build.

“We must act, and act fast. We call on the government to implement urgent funding for creative and cultural organisations impacted by the fall-out of Covid-19.”

Notably the letter is also signed by Justine Simons, deputy mayor of London for culture and the creative industries. The letter forms part of the Creative Industries Federation’s #OurWorldWithout campaign, which celebrates the UK’s cultural output and draws attention to the worrying results of its recent survey. It also found over half of creative organisations and professionals have already lost 100 per cent of their income.

Norbury adds in a statement: “With venues, museums and cinemas closed, film shoots postponed and festivals cancelled, the UK’s world-leading creative industries are in deep trouble. Creative organisations and professionals need cash, and they need it now. Whilst government support measures for businesses and the self-employed are welcome, we know that there are still thousands of creative organisations and freelancers who are falling through the gaps, and who simply will not get through this crisis without urgent cash support."

“Creativity is an intrinsic part of the UK’s cultural identity, and one of the things that the country excels at globally. It is through harnessing this creativity that the UK will begin to build a new future. For our sanity, our culture and our very sense of who we are, it is imperative that the UK’s creative industries are supported financially through this crisis.”

Read the letter and full list of signatories here.

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.

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