Scottish event organisers and freelancers to get another £17.5m in emergency funding
The Scottish Government has agreed to ringfence another £8.5m to help businesses reliant on live events, including supply chain companies.
The new funding means the government has now allocated £31.5m for the events sector – out of £142.4m that has now been set aside to help the arts, culture, events and heritage sectors survive the pandemic, as well as help bring staff back to work while restrictions are still in place.
The remaining £9m is to be targeted at an emergency fund for all freelance workers who are suffering “financial hardship” due to a loss of income as a result of the pandemic.
The fund, which is administered by arts agency Creative Scotland, was previously allocated £8m to support “those who are most deeply impacted and disadvantaged by the cancellation of work as a result of the emergency situation”.
The new support for the events sector has been confirmed just days after the Scottish Government’s most senior official overseeing the sector warned that some companies were facing a two-and-a-half year hiatus without any income and the prospect of not being able to “survive” the vaccine roll-out.
Paul Bush, chief executive of government agency EventScotland, said the industry was “increasingly resigned” this summer to not seeing a return to “business as usual” and warned that staging events with reduced capacities to accommodate social distancing rules was unsustainable.
Mr Bush said: “Scotland’s events industry continues to be severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, with many businesses having been unable to work since March 2020. The announcement of further funding will ensure meaningful financial support is in place until events can restart.”
Peter Duthie, chief executive of the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, which includes the SSE Hydro and the Armadillo, said: “Scotland’s events and festivals sector has been one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic as it was one of the first industries to come to a halt and will be one of the last to fully resume.
“With events unable to take place due to the ongoing restrictions, providing financial support is critical to ensuring we do not lose the world-class expertise that make up our vibrant industry.”
Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The impact of Covid-19 has been particularly devastating for creative freelancers and those involved in events.
"We’re determined to support them through this challenging time and I will continue to listen to and respond swiftly to the needs of people and organisations affected.
“This significant increase in funding will help to protect jobs and support individuals and organisations affected by the pandemic whilst ensuring people across Scotland continue to have access to cultural experiences.
“Culture, events and creativity generate invaluable contributions to our society – both in terms of our economy and our wellbeing – and I would like to pay tribute to everyone within these sectors for showing incredible resilience and determination during these difficult times.”
A spokeswoman said for Creative Scotland said: “We welcome this new funding and will now work with the Scottish Government to make this available as soon as possible over the coming weeks."
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