The U.K. music industry received a much needed boost as the government has announced a stimulus package of £1.57 billion ($1.96 billion USD) geared towards aiding those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement comes just a week after 1,500 artists signed an open letter to the U.K. government to help protect those in the live music industry.
“U.K. live music has been one of the U.K.’s biggest social, cultural, and economic successes of the past decade,” the letter stated.
“As important as it is, our national and regional contribution isn’t purely cultural. Our economic impact is also significant, with live music adding £4.5billion to the British economy and supporting 210,000 jobs across the country in 2019.”
Now, the government has pledged aid in what it calls “the biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture.”
“This money will help safeguard the sector for future generations, ensuring arts groups and venues across the UK can stay afloat and support their staff whilst their doors remain closed and curtains remain down,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.
The move comes as venues across the United States continue to lobby Congress for a similar stimulus package. The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) was formed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for independent venues across the country to band together with a unified voice.
Recently, 600 artists including Dave Grohl, Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga, and André 3000 signed a similar open letter calling on Congress to provide independent venues with aid.
The artists and NIVA are aiming to adjust the current Paycheck Protection Program in order to meet the needs of independent venues. Specifically, they’re seeking the equivalent of six months worth of payroll, benefits, and fixed operating costs such as rent, mortgage, utilities, taxes, and insurance.