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Arts venues share £2.25m as Labour attacks freelance hit

The V&A in Dundee will receive £1m (pic: Terry Murden)

Flagship Scottish arts venues will receive funding as part of the ongoing emergency coronavirus support for cultural and heritage organisations.

Capital Theatres – which operates the Festival Theatre, the King’s Theatre and The Studio in Edinburgh – will receive £500,000 in addition to £250,000 already awarded through the Performing Arts Venue Relief Fund to help weather the effects of the pandemic.

The Burrell Renaissance Project in Glasgow has been awarded £750,000 to help cover increased project costs caused by the COVID-19 crisis and V&A Dundee will receive £1 million of support.

So far almost £98 million of emergency funding has been allocated to cultural activities.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Culture is vitally important to all of our lives, and the Scottish Government is determined to do everything within our powers to see the sector through this crisis.

“This includes providing financial support to our flagship cultural venues, as well as the work already underway to help smaller organisations and individuals within the culture sector.

“This latest funding announcement brings the Scottish Government’s total COVID-19 support package for our culture and heritage sectors to just under £98 million.

“We know further support will still be needed, and the major issues presented by the pandemic are not going away, which is why we will continue to work in partnership with the sector to support them to not only survive the pandemic but to thrive in future.”

CEO of Capital Theatres Fiona Gibson said: “Today’s emergency funding announcement from the Scottish Government for Capital Theatres is greatly appreciated. It is the short-term financial lifeline that we have campaigned tirelessly for in recent months. 

“This will enable us to continue supporting our core staff, freelancers and communities alike.”

The new funding was announced as the UK Labour Party published figures showing almost half a million self-employed workers have been “left in the lurch” by UK government support covering just two-fifths of their normal income.


According to the Labour research, an average self-employed worker in the arts or hospitality sector will get just £450 a month from the Treasury’s self-employed income support scheme (SEISS). This is half the level during the first lockdown.

The party estimates half a million self-employed people work in sectors of the economy that are either shut or struggling under the weight of new Covid-19 restrictions.

As much as £3.1bn is being made available to self-employed workers, increasing the value of the grants they can access to cover lost income from 20% to 40% of average monthly profits. However, this is half the level available during the first lockdown, when 80% of average profits could be claimed.

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There has been separate funding commitment to freelancers in Scotland.

Ed Miliband, the shadow business secretary, said: “The promise of doing ‘whatever it takes’ to protect workers is a distant memory. Despite public health restrictions tightening and many sectors being shut, ministers are leaving self-employed people in the lurch.”

Andy Chamberlain, director of policy at IPSE, said:“Labour is right to highlight the half a million self-employed people who work in struggling sectors – and the impact the glaring disparity in support will have on them.

“Two fifths of income simply will not be enough for many of the UK’s creative freelancers, who are the backbone of our vital cultural, entertainment and hospitality sectors. 

“It’s also crucial to remember how many freelancers in these industries have been entirely excluded from claiming even 40 per cent of their income – because they work through limited companies or are newly self-employed. 

“Government must take note and drive more and better targeted support to self-employed people in need – especially our forgotten freelancers and those working in badly struggling sectors.”  

See also

Sturgeon and Ross clash as battle rages over business support


Scottish Government emergency COVID-19 funding for cultural and heritage sectors also includes:

  • £12.5 million for Performing Arts Events Venues Relief Fund
  • £2.2 million for Grassroots Music Venues
  • £4 million for Museums Recovery and Resilience Fund
  • £10 million for the Events sector
  • £3.8 million for National Trust for Scotland to protect jobs
  • £15 million for a Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund
  • £5 million to address hardship faced by creative freelancers
  • £5 million to support artists developing new creative work that will make a significant contribution to Scotland’s recovery from COVID-19
  • £3.5 million for independent cinemas
  • £3 million for youth arts, including the Youth Music Initiative
  • £21.3 million for Historic Environment Scotland
  • £5.9 million to support heritage organisations through committed grants
  • £270,000 for the New Lanark Trust World Heritage site
  • £4 million for historic environment recovery
  • £1 million for Scotland’s Science Centre

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