July 27, 2020
In essence, the DCMS Committee says that the Covid-19 crisis presents the biggest threat to the UK’s cultural infrastructure, institutions and workforce in a generation. The report finds that the Government has been “too slow” to respond to the needs of the DCMS sectors during the Covid-19 outbreak, and many organisations are facing an “existential threat” to their survival. In the wide-ranging report, the DCMS Committee finds that Ministers have “consistently failed to recognise the scale of the challenge that Covid-19 presents to culture, sport and tourism”.
The report finds that the response to the crisis by the DCMS has been hampered by the Department’s lack of spending power and a fundamental misunderstanding across Government of the needs, structures and vital social contribution of sectors such as the creative industries.
The report notes that the DCMS remains one of the smallest government departments by budget and staffing and has seen one of the highest turnover of Secretaries of State of any, with Oliver Dowden as ninth in the role since May 2010.
The report finds that the loss of performing arts institutions and cultural workers would “put at risk the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda and reverse decades of progress in cultural provision, diversity and inclusion”.
The DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said: “… Our report points to a department that has been treated as a ‘Cinderella’ by government when it comes to spending, despite the enormous contribution that the DCMS sectors make to the economy and job creation. We can see the damaging effect that has had on the robustness and ability of these areas to recover from the Covid crisis. The £1.57 bn support is welcome but for many help has come too late. We urge the government to act on our recommendations, to recognise the value these sectors provide and imagine how much bleaker the outcome for all without their survival”. To read the Committee’s news release in full and for a link to the report, click here.