The show must go on
Written by Scarlett Regan, researcher
Edited by Tom Gillingham, associate partner
I have to say, I am missing a bit of cultural immersion. A sumptuous cinema seat, a calm, quiet gallery, a stuffy gig, an immersive play: they would all go down a treat.
Last month, I wrote a briefing on the uncertain future of theatres, and argued that without financial aid, many theatres would have to close their curtains for good. This week, the future of the arts is looking a lot healthier, with the UK government’s £1.57bn support package announced yesterday.
It seems that a trip to the theatre, cinema, live music venue, or a gallery is no longer a ghost of the past but a future possibility too. The funding aims to preserve “crown jewel” venues as well as supporting local institutions across the UK. It comes after several weeks of pressure from institutions across the arts and culture sector, many of which are at serious risk of bankruptcy.
The initial response to the new support package has been favourable, with many arts leaders saying it is more than they had hoped for. Julian Bird, chief executive of The Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, said he “hugely welcomed” the funding, and chief executive of Shakespeare’s Globe said the investment will allow them to reopen fully by early 2021. Many other arts chiefs have expressed their relief, and have called for the money to be distributed as fast as possible. The funding will be devolved too, with £97m of the support package going to Scotland.
The devil will be in the detail, however. The government has not yet clarified how the money will be split up between the arts or regions, so there are bound to be many who miss out on a vital slice of the cake. There are of course still concerns about social distancing in these venues: when will they be able to welcome audiences as usual? And, rumours are that the funding will not protect freelance workers: a crucial element of the arts sector.
So, with many questions yet to be answered, we will have to wait to see when – and how – the show will indeed go on.
Results from the final stage of a nationwide antibody study in Spain show that just 5.2 per cent of Spain’s population has been exposed to the coronavirus. The study, which tested nearly 70,000 people across Spain three times over the past three months, suggested that immunity to the virus can be short-lived. This loss of immunity was most common among those who never developed symptoms.
Scottish universities are at risk of being wiped out by the coronavirus crisis, as they risk a drastic drop in international students. Analysis for the National Institute of Economic and Social Research suggests that the worst-case scenario would be that “all universities except Oxford and Cambridge could be insolvent”. A study by the London Economics for the University and College Union has revealed that around 9,500 fewer international students are expected to come to Scotland for their studies this autumn, a fall of nearly 50 per cent.
The foreign secretary Dominic Raab is facing calls to use Britain’s newly created human rights regime against Beijing. When he announced the regime, he suggested it would initially target abusive organisations in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Myanmar and North Korea. So far, no Chinese targets have been mentioned, however the new sanctions system is likely to be used by the widening group of MPs who accuse Beijing of human rights abuses. (£)
Business and economy
The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is due to announce a £2bn grant scheme in England for energy-saving home improvements as part of a £3bn green package. Hundreds of thousands of homeowners will receive vouchers of up to £5,000, and the grants could help support more than 100,000 jobs. The investment will help to “kick-start our economy”, according to Sunak.
The sandwich chain Pret a Manger is ready to close 30 stores and cut 1,000 jobs (one eighth of its current UK employees). This comes as sales across the UK were down 74 per cent year-on-year as a result of the pandemic. It is also planning to sell the lease of its main support office in central London. (£)
Britain’s leading accountancy firms have been given four years to seal off their audit practices.Yesterday, the Financial Reporting Council told the “Big Four” to build Chinese walls between their audit and advisory teams to prevent more scandals. PWC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY will have to submit their plans to the regulator by October, and implement the changes by June 2024.
Columns of note
InThe Guardian, Suzanne Moore writes that the easing of lockdown has proved to be more stressful than lockdown itself. Attempting to “act normal” by going to the pub and going shopping is counteracted by fear, anxiety and confusion about what we can and cannot do, she writes. The truth is that the road back to normality is a long one, and many feel more vulnerable now than they did two months ago.
In theFinancial Times, Raghuram Rajan argues that out of self-interest, the world’s more industrialised countries need to avoid beggaring the rest. He notes that the economic damage that poorer countries suffer will be dramatically higher and that a decade of lost growth in developing countries would severely affect developed countries. Mass unemployment would also lead to mass emigration, meaning these issues won’t be contained. Sharing growth is therefore in everyone’s interest, he concludes. (£)
Source: The Telegraph
What happened yesterday?
With optimism about a recovery from the pandemic rippling across the globe yesterday from China, most financial markets reported notable rises.
The American tech-heavy Nasdaq index rose 2.3 per cent, despite further reports of new coronavirus cases across the US. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 gained 1.6 per cent, and the FTSE 100 closed 2.1 per cent higher.
Companies with a particular connection with China, such as cars and machinery, recorded strong gains. China’s CSI 300 index jumped 5.7 per cent yesterday: the biggest daily rise since February 2019.
Oil prices also rose, with Brent Crude adding 1.6 per cent.
What's happening today?
Gcp Asset Bckd
Final Dividend Payment Date
Hill & Smith
International Economic Announcements
(07:00) Industrial Production (GER)
Did you know?
In order to capture the “Street View” of the Arabian desert, Google used cameras mounted on camels.
House of Commons
HM Treasury (including Topical Questions)
Ten minute rule motion
Magistrates (Retirement Age) – Edward Timpson
Estimates Day (1stAlloted Day): Department for Education; Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs; Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – Jesse Norman
Orthopaedic services at Ipswich hospital – Tom Hunt
House of Lords
Financial stability of local government in England in the light of the additional costs incurred, and income lost, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – Lord Kennedy of Southwark
Ensuring no detainee of an immigration removal centre is released without support for finding and funding accommodation – Lord Roberts of Llandudno
Advice for British travellers to the USA on the risks of eating chicken which has been subject to a pathogen reduction treatment and hormone-fed beef – Lord Lilley
Encouraging greater use of public transport during and after the COVID-19 pandemic – Baroness Randerson
Agriculture Bill – Committee stage (day 1) – Lord Gardiner of Kimble
In recess until 10 August (with the exception of 9, 16, 23, 30 July 2020 and 6 August 2020, on which dates business may be programmed by the bureau)