Its official: galleries and art fairs at risk of collapse can apply for UKs £1.57bn rescue package

Commercial arts organisations, including galleries and art fairs, are eligible to apply for the UK government's £1.57bn coronavirus rescue package © Ryan Stefan

The British government has announced that commercial arts organisations, including galleries and art fairs, are eligible to apply for its £1.57bn coronavirus rescue package—if firms can prove they are no longer trading viably by the end of this financial year.

According to criteria published on the Arts Council Englands (ACE) website, “limited companies registered at Companies House” and based in England can either apply for a long-term loan (in excess of £3m and repayable at 2% per annum over 20 years) or a recovery grant of between £50,000 and £3m. However, there has been some confusion as to who the rescue package applies to and some trade bodies and fair directors were not aware that commercial art businesses were eligible to apply when contacted by The Art Newspaper.

Unlike the ACEs previous emergency response package, this fund covers “charitable, publicly supported and fully commercial organisations of all sizes in the arts, museums, heritage sectors as well as music venues and independent cinemas”, says a spokesman for the department of culture, media and sport (DCMS).

He adds: “Funding will be prioritised for organisations that are of local, regional and national importance, and where they play a key role in levelling up their local communities.” The Tate is understood to be in line to receive £7m, although this has not been enough to prevent 313 redundancies from its commercial arm next month.

ACE will distribute £500m of the funding, while the British Film Institute, Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund will also allocate grants. The loans package is worth £270m, with an initial repayment holiday of up to four years.

In order to receive support, organisations must have been financially stable before Covid-19, but are now “at imminent risk of failure and have done all they can to exhaust other options”, the DCMS spokesman says. The fund is intended to provide organisations with support over a six-month period to ensure that by 31 March 2021 they can reopen, if they havent done so already.

Successful applicants must also adhere to a number of conditions, including a pay freeze on all staff for at least 18 months and a 10% pay cut for those on more than £150,000 a year; a commitment to increase diversity both in teRead More – Source

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