It is ‘vital’ that organisations within the cultural, sporting and hospitality sectors receive support they need to survive until social distancing restrictions are removed, Catholic politician Damian Collins has said.
The former Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee chair acknowledged that over the last couple of months the Government has delivered an ‘unprecedented and world-leading business support package’ in an effort to keep firms going during the lockdown and to preserve jobs.
‘Over £30 billion of finance has been provided through the different business loan and support schemes. Many local firms, large and small have used the furlough scheme to help protect the incomes of their staff,’ he wrote in his weekly blog.
Mr Collins pointed out that while some restrictions have been eased, allowing people a little bit more freedom, they might have to be tightened once more if the reinfection rate for the virus starts to go up again.
‘This uncertainty is challenging for us all, but particularly so for businesses that rely for their income on people being able to visit,’ he wrote.
He pointed out that social distancing requirements will have a severe impact on the ability of hotels, bars, cafes and restaurants to re-open. He also noted that sectors which rely heavily on selling tickets for events will also be hit badly.
‘For theatres, more than 70 per cent of their revenue comes from selling tickets, and for football clubs, particularly those playing below the top two tiers in England, the Premier League and the Championship, more than 80 per cent of their income comes as a result of playing matches in front of spectators.
‘Whilst it would be possible to spread people out within venues like these, it is almost impossible to preserve social distancing for access into and out of them, or for visitors using the facilities.
‘Yet these businesses are vital to the cultural life of the nation, they bring people together and animate our towns and cities. It is vital we ensure that these organisations within our cultural, sporting and hospitality sectors are given the support the need to survive until the social distancing measures are removed,’ he concluded.
Picture: Empty seats at the theatre. (Britta Pedersen/DPA/PA).