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PJ Harvey, Seamus Murphy
Photography Seamus Murphy, via Instagram/@pjharveyofficial

PJ Harvey and Nick Cave urge the UK government to support the arts

A letter from the Creative Industries Federation warns that the UK could become a ‘creative wasteland’ due to the economic impact of COVID-19

PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, Benji B, and other musicians have signed an open letter from the Creative Industries Federation (CIF) urging the UK government to offer financial support the creative industries during the coronavirus crisis.

The letter, addressed to the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, warns that the country could become a “creative wasteland” due to the economic impact of COVID-19.

“A Creative Industries Federation survey of 2,000 creative organizations and freelancers revealed that one in seven creative organisations believe they can last only until the end of April on existing financial reserves,” the letter reads. “Only half think their reserves will last beyond June.”

Speaking to The Guardian, Caroline Norbury, CEO of CIF, said: “While government support measures for businesses and the self-employed are welcome, we know that there are still thousands of creative organisations and freelancers who are falling through the gaps, and who simply will not get through this crisis without urgent cash support.”

“Artists are creating so much content online that people can experience in their homes,” added the musician Rufus Wainwright. “They have not stopped producing and it would be a crime as a society to not support them through this crisis as they are nourishing us.” He added that Germany has announced a £43bn aid package for freelancers and small businesses, while Berlin is distributing €5,000 payments to individual freelancers including artists.

Other signatories include the artists Anish Kapoor and Jeremy Deller, designers Grace Wales Bonner and Molly Goddard, and Dazed co-founder Jefferson Hack.

Read the full letter here.