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UK government sets up taskforce for helping cultural industries come out of COVID-19 shutdown

By | Published on Thursday 21 May 2020


The UK government yesterday appointed a specific Commissioner and taskforce to advise on how the sports, culture and heritage industries can navigate their way out of COVID-19 shutdown. Music is part of the remit of that Commissioner and taskforce, although the initiative doesn’t have any direct representation from the music industry.

The newly appointed taskforce will meet weekly from tomorrow. It includes Tamara Rojo from English National Ballet, former professional footballer and now sports broadcaster Alex Scott, Arts Council Chair Nicholas Serota, Edward Mellors from Mellors Group Events, TV industry veteran Michael Grade, founder Martha Lane-Fox and Mark Cornell from the Ambassador Theatre Group.

Also on the committee will be Neil Mendoza, who has a background in both the finance and creative sectors, and who has been appointed as Commissioner For Cultural Recovery And Renewal.

Announcing the taskforce, the government’s Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We are determined to do all we can to help our sectors that are such an incredible part of British life in their recovery. The taskforce is made up of some of the brightest and best from the cultural, sporting and tech worlds. Experts in their fields, they’ll be instrumental in identifying creative ways to get these sectors up and running again”.

He added: “Our local, regional and national institutions have been trailblazers in coming up with innovative ways to reach audiences during the lockdown. Our focus now turns to paving the way for the reopening of the country’s cultural hubs including theatres, galleries, museums and entertainment venues, when it is safe to do so. Neil’s appointment as Commissioner For Cultural Recovery and Renewal and the creation of a new taskforce is all part of the government’s commitment to help get the cultural and creative sectors back up and running”.

UK Music has previously called for the government to set up a standalone taskforce for the music industry to consider the specific challenges of music-makers and music companies in getting through and beyond the COVID-19 crisis. Given the lack of music industry representation in this scheme, it seems likely those calls will continue.