Attractions industry news

20 Mar 2020

UK attractions leaders call on government to use £120m Festival of Britain Fund to support sector

The heads of several major organisations, including The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), the Museums Association (MA) and the National Museums Directors Council (NMDC), have called on the British government to use funding intended for the upcoming Festival of Britain in order to provide emergency funding for the arts, heritage and entertainment sectors.

Announced by former Prime Minister Theresa May last year, the 2022 Festival of Britain is a £120m (US$142.8m, €133m) UK-wide cultural event that will aim to champion the country’s innovation and creativity following the UK’s split from the EU in January.

ALVA director Bernard Donoghue, MA director Sharon Heal and NMDC chair Sir Ian Blatchford have all called for an emergency fund with that funding to be created in order to support the in-need sectors as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic.

"The government had earmarked £120m for a ‘festival of Britain’ in 2022," said Heal. "We believe this should now be made available to support museums at risk of permanent closure as a result of the coronavirus epidemic.

"We would appeal to government and funders to provide financial support and emergency funding for institutions that are affected by the pandemic; and also ask funders to operate flexibility in terms of delivery of currently funded projects."

Donoghue made a similar call. While the fund would not be enough to stop organisations going out of business, the fund is an easy solution in the short term "otherwise there may be no culture to display."

Blatchford, who is also head of London's Science Museum, said that keeping the “cultural sector alive” had to take priority over the 2022 event, adding that a Festival of Britain cannot be held if the museum sector is "knackered".

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