Johnny Marr, Paloma Faith and Grayson Perry are among several stars warning the government that the UK will become a “cultural wasteland” if action isn’t taken to support the arts.
They are among 400 signatories – also including artist Anish Kapoor, singers Nick Cave, PJ Harvey and Jamie Cullum, actor Simon Callow, author Sophie Dahl and comedians Stephen Fry and Meera Syal – of a letter calling for funding sent by the Creative Industries Federation (CIF).
More than 50% of creative organisations and professionals have already lost 100% of their income due to the coronavirus pandemic, the federation says, with cash urgently needed to support the arts during lockdown.
The organisation is calling for urgent aid for the thousands of organisations and professionals affected by COVID-19 who are falling through the gaps of existing government support schemes.
Faith said: “The creative arts have always been a refuge, an important voice in times of joy, pain and heartache.
“They unite people in their shared experiences and make people feel less alone, punctuating our memories and articulating the feelings we don’t have the words for.”
Heads of venues and organisations including Somerset House, the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Opera House, Shakespeare’s Globe, Scottish Ballet and Film Birmingham have also put their names to the letter, which was addressed to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.
Caroline Norbury, chief executive of CIF, says the UK’s “world-leading creative industries are in deep trouble” due to venues being closed.
“Creative organisations and professionals need cash and they need it now,” she said.
“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.”
She added: “It is through harnessing this creativity that the UK will begin to build a new future.
“For our sanity, our culture and our sense of who we are, it is imperative that the UK’s creative industries are supported financially through this crisis.”
Research carried out by CIF earlier in April suggested that one in seven creative organisations only have enough cash reserves to last until the end of the month, and just half think their reserves will last beyond June.
The chancellor has previously announced that £9bn of government funds would be used to support millions of self-employed people, as well as the furloughing scheme to help support businesses.