DCMS Select Committee publishes report on impact of Coronavirus
The DCMS Select Committee has published a report on the impact of the Coronavirus on the cultural sector. The report brings together responses from the sector between April and June and investigates how effectively the Government has dealt with the challenges facing the sectors under DCMS’ remit.
The report welcomes the recently announced £1.57 billion Government funding package, but highlights how the success of the funding will "ultimately depend on how long institutions remain closed or subject to social distancing."
Icon welcomes the report’s discussion of the challenges faced by the cultural sector and its workforce. The Committee calls on Government to recognise “the interconnected nature of the cultural sector” and to avoid restricting support to “well established, high profile, institutions.” The Committee stresses that “it is essential that cultural freelancers and small companies in the creative industries supply chain are also eligible for direct support.”
This is a call that has featured constantly in Icon’s lobbying efforts to Government as many self-employed people remain excluded from Government aid, placing the future of the heritage workforce at significant risk. The Committee’s recommendation for support for the self-employed to be urgently reviewed and amended is a positive step.
The report also discusses the decline in tourism and its impact on heritage attractions such as galleries and museums. “Losing these important spaces, and the valuable collections they hold, would be a significant loss to our cultural identity.” The Committee calls on DCMS to secure collections at risk from museum insolvencies by introducing a temporary change to legislation “to ensure that if an accredited museum becomes insolvent as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, the institution’s collections cannot be liquidated for financial assets for the first 12 months.”
While Icon welcomes the Committee’s recommendations, the scarce mention of heritage is regrettable. Conservation is not raised in the report. Icon's submission to the investigation highlighted the considerable impact of the pandemic on conservators and conservation, in terms of livelihoods, jobs, institutions and collections. Icon also noted how conservation holds potential to encourage recovery and rebuilding by supporting the UK's economic prosperity and the wellbeing of individuals and communities.
Icon will continue to highlight these important notes to Government and partners to ensure the message is heard.
Image: Photo by Lorenzo Spoleti on Unsplash