On Tuesday 16th June, Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West, spoke on BBC Essex Radio Live and at Urgent Questions to the Treasury as he called for more support for those employed in the theatre and performing arts sector.
British theatre is a world-class cultural and economic force and everyone from small studios to big-budget stages are part of that cultural importance. Theatre and the performing arts bring people and communities together and the creative industries are rapidly growing. Sir David has signed an open letter to the Prime Minister asking for comprehensive action to be taken to support those in the theatre sector and allow them to continue to contribute to the success of the UK.
Sir David spoke on BBC Essex Radio Live this morning on the topic and said he signed the letter because “I’m a very big supporter of the arts and the theatre world and I think they perhaps have been forgotten in this pandemic. They are having a very tough time at the moment and the schemes which the Treasury have come up with, which I’ve learnt from local constituents who work within the theatre world, frankly haven’t been giving the sort of support they really do need and deserve”.
As well as signing the open letter and speaking on BBC Essex Radio Live this morning, Sir David spoke at Urgent Questions to the Treasury in the House of Commons this afternoon.
Sir David said “290,000 people in the theatre and performing arts sector are really struggling financially at the moment, so will the Treasury look at extending the Job Retention Scheme [at 80%] at least until October and also extending the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme which would particularly help those people who have freelancing work?”
Jesse Norman replied “It is a source of great concern to us that the arts have been well supported by the schemes so far. There has already been a separate package through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport specifically targeting arts and other organisations and so we do have this issue very much in our minds”.