A third of York’s creative businesses say they don’t have enough money to survive – City urges ministers for more help

The message displayed on York Theatre Royal. Photograph: Richard McDougall
27 Apr 2020 @ 6.01 pm
| News

York’s cultural sector is urgently in need of further government support, it emerged today (Monday).

A third of York’s creative industries say they do not have sufficient capital to survive the business impacts they are facing as a result of Covid-19.

They were responding to a survey by Make It York. Results so far show more than half of the sector expect to be affected for at least six months after social distancing restrictions are lifted – with two thirds of these predicting it will take more than 12 months.

Today Make It York, City of York Council, and key players across the cultural sector have signed an open letter to government calling for an urgent fund for creative industries to help those organisations and professionals hit hardest by the fallout of coronavirus.

Fears of a ‘cultural wasteland’

MD of Make It York Sean Bullick

The letter warns that the government must “act, and act fast” to avoid the UK becoming “a cultural wasteland”

Signatories to the letter include:

  • the Guild of Media Arts
  • York Museums Trust
  • York Theatre Royal
  • York St John University
  • Explore York Libraries & Archives
  • National Centre For Early Music
  • Pilot Theatre
  • York Civic Trust
  • and York Music Venue Network.

The letter forms part of the Creative Industries Federation’s #OurWorldWithout campaign. This highlights how more than 50% of creative organisations and professionals have already lost all of their income.

Federation research shows that 1 in 7 creative organisations only have reserves to last until the end of April. Only half have reserves that will last beyond June.

Executive member for culture, leisure & communities Cllr Darryl Smalley said: “Whilst the current Government measures which have been put in place to support the cultural sector are welcome, there is more which urgently needs to be done to protect businesses and individuals working in these industries.

“In York, we anticipate many of the 1,000 micro and one-person businesses who have benefited from City of York Council’s Covid-19 Micro Grant Scheme will be in the cultural and creative sectors.

“We will continue to work with the Creative Industries Federation to support their nationwide campaign to ensure the Government to take action in this area.”

Sean Bullick, Managing Director at Make It York said, “We know that the impact on local York businesses across all sectors is huge and our business impact survey has already highlighted some key areas where more support is needed.

“The creative and cultural sectors are immensely important to York’s business community and with the city’s theatres, venues, museums and galleries closed due to lockdown, we need to ensure that we are doing everything we can to support this sector.”

Businesses can give their feedback on how Covid-19 has affected them to the Make It York survey here.