Culture secretary

Independent community slams Culture Secretary over Omicron tweet

Dozens of freelancers from the theater community have slammed Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries following her recent tweets about the state of the arts sector.

Earlier today, Dorries tweeted, saying: “I know theaters are facing challenges due to Omicron. The Culture Recovery Fund remains open and is available to theaters – of any type – for apply for emergency resource support funding if they need it. Many theaters have applied and have already received emergency funding. Don’t delay in submitting your application – do it now.”

The Cultural Recovery Fund, created in the summer of 2020, has successfully provided millions of pounds to institutions and organisations, but has drawn widespread criticism for its lack of direct support for individuals.

This most recent emergency funding round would be for: “cultural organizations that are properly incorporated with a governing document and are able to demonstrate, via cash flow forecasts, that they are at risk of sustainably ceasing to trade within 12 weeks from the point of application”.

Due to Covid-related shutdowns, many freelancers find themselves without pay during what is normally one of the most lucrative times of the year.

Director Dean Johnson was quick to respond to Dorries’ tweet: “not enough. Freelancers defending theater need support,” while Waitress‘ Sandra Marvin said: ‘….And what should the independent actors and operators who all work in this industry do….What do you suggest we do?’

Georgia Louise, who appeared in the Fat tour, simply said, “I’m not a building, Nadine. Alun Hood added: “Look, without artists and independents, these places won’t have anyone to keep them alive when this is over. Where’s the support for these people? They pay their taxes like everyone else, and they all have already taken a financial beating. You need to step up.”

Producer Darren Bell said: “Please stop tweeting about the Culture Recovery Fund and do your homework to find out who needs help. Freelancers and freelancers get £0 from this fund. It’s not there for everyone. It never was, never was. You really gotta step up, Nadine.

Many members of the self-employed community, some of whom were not eligible for financial support, again found themselves without an income during the turbulent months of lockdown. The former government-backed Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) was closed earlier this year.

In the absence of state-backed support, various charities are doing significant work to directly support creatives. Be sure to check out the likes of Act for others, the Theater Support Fund and the Theater Artists Fund.

Recently, it was announced that no lockdown restrictions would be imposed before Christmas.

Last week, the Culture Secretary was kicked out of a Conservative Party WhatsApp group after defending Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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