The UK Parliamentary committee that oversees culture has launched an inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 on a wide-range of industries, including the creative and live events sectors.
The cross-party Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee is calling for evidence from organisations and industry bodies about the scale of the damage done by the pandemic’s shutdown of most spaces that people gather, including theatres, stadia, and concert halls.
DCMS Committee chair Julian Knight said: “COVID-19 is casting a long shadow over our lives and will do so for years to come.”
The body will consider the effect of social and financial measures both in the immediate and long-term on areas including, culture and the creative industries; civil society; sport; tourism; heritage; publishing, media and journalism; and telecoms.
The DCMS Committee said it would seek to question ministers about the effectiveness of government action to date and what further support is needed. The committee expects to hold evidence sessions from late April into May, and evidence can be submitted until May 1.
Knight continued: “We’re particularly concerned that we risk seeing an irreversible impact on things that we value as part of our culture. Whether it’s sport, music, theatre or your local newspaper to give a few examples.
“We’re already seeing a long queue for government support across many areas. We want to make sure that our cultural organisations that give us much that we’re missing in this lockdown get a fair hearing.”
To date, DCMS has launched a £1.3m emergency fund to support local tourism organisations throughout the coronavirus outbreak, though several industry bodies, such as the Creative Industries Federation (CIF) have called for more action.
Earlier this month, the chief executive for the membership body for the creative sector in the UK, Caroline Norbury, called for DCMS to introduce a Creative Industries Distress Fund, to rapidly respond to bids for support based on urgent needs that are unique to the sector.
CIF also unveiled data that indicates more than 40 per cent of creative businesses in the UK estimate that they have lost 100 per cent of their income due to the live events blackout caused by COVID-19.
In addition, a recent survey by the Society of London Theatres and UK Theatre found that 77 per cent of theatre venues and 67 per cent of producers will need more financial support from the government than what is already being offered.