Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF) 2 Analysis
We have conducted analysis of CRF2 which includes looking at recipients categorised by ‘theatre’, but also where our members are categorised as different disciplines. We have also broken the data down by region and commercial / subsidised. To view the analysis, please visit the UK Theatre Advocacy Page (for UK Theatre members) and the SOLT Advocacy Page (for SOLT members). The information is under the ‘Data’ drop down.
Performing Arts Guidance update - 15 April
Key updates include confirmation that venues that are permitted to open at Step 2 and can operate as hospitality venues (such as grassroots music venues) may provide ancillary performance activity, such as live music, for their seated food and / or drink customers outdoors at Step 2 (Section 2.1). There are also further details on workplace testing (1.10) and a new section on ventilation which will be helpful for those venues looking to reopen in step 3 (5.5). Please always refer to the full guidance which can be found here.
Performing Arts Guidance update - 12 April
Section 1.5 of the performing arts guidance has been updated with details about how contract tracing will be implemented in venues as they reopen. Every customer or visitor will now be required to scan the NHS QR code using their NHS COVID-19 app or provide their name and contact details, not just the lead member of a group. This is to ensure everyone receives the necessary public health advice in a timely manner. This is being implemented across all sectors and is centralised. You can read the full guidance here.
COVID-19 Vaccine / Certification Consultations
The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) has launched an inquiry into COVID-19 Vaccine Certification. The deadline for this is 3 May. Please note - this is separate, but related to the Cabinet Office’s consultation on COVID-Status Certification Review which closes on Monday.
UK Theatre and SOLT are responding to both. However, please note there are many opinions across the sector, so we encourage others to input if they would like to.
Following the Budget announcement, we have published our statement on the SOLT and UK Theatre websites. You can also read a summary of the measures announced here. For many of the key elements, there is no more additional information available from government at this stage - we will update you as more details are released.
The Prime Minister has announced the proposed roadmap for the removal of restrictions. The full detail is here.
There are 4 stages of reopening – theatre and venues reopen in steps 3 and 4 as follows:
Step 3 will take place no earlier than 17 May, and at least five weeks after Step 2, following a further review of the data and the four tests. Again, the Government will announce one week in advance whether restrictions will be eased as planned.
Sectors which will reopen include:
- Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas
- Some large events, including conferences, theatre and concert performances and sports events. Controlled indoor events of up to 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted, as will outdoor events with a capacity of either 50% or 4,000 people, whichever is lower.
- The Government will also make a special provision for large, outdoor, seated venues where crowds can be safely distributed, allowing up to 10,000 people or 25% of total seated capacity, whichever is lower. In addition, pilots will run as part of the Events Research Programme to examine how such events can take place without the need for social distancing using other mitigations such as testing.
Step 4 will take place no earlier than 21 June, and at least five weeks after Step 3, following a further review of the data against the four tests. As before, the Government will announce one week in advance whether restrictions will be eased as planned. With appropriate mitigations in place, by Step 4, the Government aims to:
- Remove all legal limits on social contact, publishing accompanying guidance on how best to reduce the risk of transmission and protect ourselves and loved ones;
- Reopen the remaining closed settings, including nightclubs and enable large events, including theatre performances, above the Step 3 capacity restrictions, subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme and potentially using testing to reduce the risk of infection, subject to further evaluation.
Mayor announces £5m plan to support safe reopening of Central London
Sadiq Khan has announced proposals to invest £5m to support the reopening of central London, including a drive to attract Londoners and UK tourists back to hard-hit retail, hospitality, and cultural venues. The Mayor wants domestic tourism to be at the heart of London’s drive to ‘build back better’ and will focus on putting jobs and the economy at the heart of post-pandemic planning. You can read more here.
#WeMakeEvents – The Government Can’t See Us, Can You?
#WeMakeEvents is calling on the Government – in an open letter to Rishi Sunak – to halt the destruction of the sector by recognising the impact of the pandemic on the live event supply chain, to support individuals and businesses to survive while they cannot work, and to engage with the sector to develop a plan for reopening, including Government-backed COVID-19 cancellation insurance. The campaign is asking the public to contribute their voices and opinions through social media and by writing to their MP – urging the Government to address this crippling situation now. Please download social media assets that you can use and please amplify the message on your channels if you can.
The Government has today published the long-awaited Skills Whitepaper. Skills for Jobs: Lifelong Learning for Opportunity and Growth is important as it reviews and prioritises education needs in line with labour market needs. These needs should reflect the changing environment: a post-Brexit UK, more automation and advancement in technologies, alongside the need to ‘build back fairer’ in terms of diversity, equality and inclusion post COVID-19. Although it doesn’t mention the self-employed, we will raise with DCMS and the DFE that we would like to see consideration given to training routes that directly support this crucial section of our workforce.
The Paper is important for the theatre sector’s current and future workforce. It directly mentions the creative sector and technical education and highlights that Government has heard our needs in terms of closing skills gaps and helping deliver on the Industrial Strategy.
One of the most important parts of the paper is that it recognises and discusses the need for more flexibilities in apprenticeships. UK Theatre and SOLT sit on the Creative Industries Council’s FE & HE Group, as well as its Apprenticeships and T-Levels Group. Through this group we have made the theatre sector’s workforce’s needs heard. Whether this is in terms of thinking about how T Level placements could work in the industry, or the need for greater flexibilities in apprenticeships so the sector can take on more apprentices. For example, is it possible to have shorter placements to fit in line with the way the theatre sector works – enabling more theatre businesses to get involved, especially SMEs. Government has acknowledged this: ‘One of the barriers is the varied and flexible employment patterns that mean an apprentice and their employer are unable to commit to the minimum 12-month apprenticeship duration. We want to support apprentices and employers to make use of apprenticeships in sectors where short-term, project-based employment is the norm…’
Another item in their list of recommendations is to collect comprehensive workforce data collection. We would welcome this, especially if it reaches beyond school leavers, and collects more details on mid-career and also on freelancers for instance. Chancellor extends furlough and loan schemes
It has been announced that the furlough scheme will extend until the end of April 2021. The government will continue to pay 80% of the salary of employees for hours not worked until the end of April. Employers will only be required to pay wages, National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pensions for hours worked; and NICs and pensions for hours not worked. The latest information can be found here.
Letter to Fiona Hyslop MSP
UK Theatre is a member of Culture Counts. Culture Counts has written to Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, to ask for the announcement of a three-year culture budget in January 2021. As we know, the culture sector has experienced an awful year, with precarious-work quickly turning into no-work for many. The high levels of precarious work that exist in the sector, caused in part by uncertainty and the inability to plan ahead, have a knock-on impact on its lack of diversity.
Below are some of the advocacy documents we have sent out on the subject of COVID 19.
For further guidance and advice, please visit the Government Guidance Library.