In the Budget 2021, Rishi Sunak announced further support for hard-hit sectors including the entertainment, hospitality, and sports sectors in his Budget statement. He announced an investment of over £400m in support of the arts and culture sector – in addition to extending the £500m support for the film industry – together with a £300m package to help summer sports and clubs survive the impact of the most recent lockdown.
Arts and culture
Rishi Sunak said: “Throughout the crisis we have done everything we can to support our world-renowned arts and cultural industries, and it’s only right that we continue to build on our historic package of support for the sector.”
This boost in funding is aimed at enabling theatres, museums, art galleries, and live music venues to open in the summer, following extended closures. In his speech, the Chancellor acknowledged that this sector would be the last to begin operating again, hampered with restrictions needed to halt virus transmission. He stated that £90m will go to national museums and cultural bodies with a further £20m to community cultural projects and an additional £77m to the devolved administrations in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales to support their culture groups. Tate director, Maria Balshaw welcomed the announcement and called it a “vote of confidence” for the country’s cultural organisations.
This time, the summer sports of cricket, tennis, horse racing and rugby league will benefit from £300m of extra funding with the previous support for local authority run leisure centres extended. Rishi Sunak stated, “As a huge cricket fan I know there is nothing that says summer more than watching your favourite team, I can’t wait for sports grounds to be filled with fans with atmosphere again – this £300m cash boost will help make this a reality”.
In addition, there will also be £25m to support grassroots football, which the Chancellor stated would be enough to build “around 700 new pitches” across the UK. He also reiterated a promise to officially back a joint UK and Ireland bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup, which will be a welcome announcement for football fans.
This support is likely to be a lifeline for many, although the devil will be in the detail when the criteria for eligibility is announced in the next few weeks.
Other measures for the hospitality sector
The Chancellor also announced the continuation of the business rates holiday for eligible businesses in the sector until June, followed by a 66 per cent reduction in the next nine months. He is also continuing the VAT rate of 5 per cent for a further six months, followed by 12.5 per cent until reverting to the standard rate (20 per cent) by April 2022. The trade body, UKHospitality, welcomed the measures for the hospitality sector: “The Chancellor has listened to the concerns of the hospitality sector. Details are yet to be pored over, but it looks like crucial support will help businesses at a critical time.”
In addition, the Chancellor stated that a £150m fund will be set up to allow communities to take ownership of pubs, theatres, shops and sports clubs at the risk of closure.
All this is extremely welcome news for these sectors. As ever, we must wait for the smaller details to come out regarding eligibility and where the money will come from in the longer term.