U.K. Fall Budget Sets $1.1 Billion for Post-Pandemic Cultural Support

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The U.K. government will invest over £850 million ($1.1 billion) in cultural and heritage infrastructure in the wake of the pandemic.

The investment is part of the allocation for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in the three-year Spending Review that sets U.K. government departments’ resource and capital budgets for 2022/2023 to 2024/2025.

Presenting the fall budget at the House of Commons on Wednesday, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak also revealed that U.K. public service broadcaster BBC’s commercial borrowing limit has more than doubled from £350 million to £750 million.

In addition, tax relief has been doubled for theaters, orchestras, museums and galleries amounting to £250 million. Meanwhile, £14 million per year has been allocated to the creative industries, including supporting small and medium enterprises to scale up, and providing support for the U.K.’s independent film and video game industries.

Tax credits on R&D across industries will be restricted to domestic spend, not international.

Further, the government is increasing support for the U.K.’s tech sector with over £160 million of investment from 2022 to 2023, to 2024 to 2025 into new and innovative industries and minimising the risk of digital harms to the U.K.’s economy, security and society.

The fall budget also reiterated the previously stated commitment to funding the £800 million Live Events Reinsurance Scheme and the extension to the £500 million Film and TV Production Restart Scheme.

In response to the financial measures, Caroline Norbury, CEO of the U.K. Creative Industries Federation, said: “The creative industries have demonstrated over the last 20 years that their capacity not only to create revenues for the U.K. but also to bring people together and make our towns, cities and rural areas outstanding places to live. The recognition of this in today’s announcement — doubling tax relief for museums, galleries, theaters and orchestras, £850 million in post-pandemic support for culture and heritage institutions, and £14 million a year in scale up funding for creative SMEs — is hugely welcome, supporting the cultural sector when most needed.”

Norbury highlighted, however, that the limited expansion of R&D tax relief continues to exclude many workers in the creative sector.

“Just as important as preserving our rich cultural heritage is recognising the crucial role our films, television, music, fashion and games and world leading talent in front of and behind the cameras play in shaping our future economic success and recovery,” said Norbury.

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