Budget 2021: £710m earmarked for culture and sport

Cricket - South Africa v England - Third Test - St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, South Africa - January 19, 2020   England's Ollie Pope takes the catch dismiss South Africa's Rassie van der Dussen off the bowling of Joe Root   REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
England's Ollie Pope takes the catch dismiss South Africa's Rassie van der Dussen off the bowling of Joe Root. Photo: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The Treasury is expected to pledge a combined £710m ($986.6m) to culture and sport in Wednesday's upcoming budget.

Nearly £410m extra money will be made available for the arts, culture and heritage industries, with a £300m boost for the Culture Recovery Fund. £90m will also go towards supporting museums and cultural bodies alongside £20m for regional culture projects.

The Culture Recovery Fund was launched in July and, to date, has awarded over £800m in grants to over 3,000 organisations in England, so far supporting 75,000 jobs. A second round of funding will be awarded by the end of March 2021, with a third funding round supported by this extra £300m of investment. The total fund will sit at around £1.9bn in total.

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This funding boost is also expected to result in an extra £77m of new money to the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “This industry is a significant driver of economic activity, employing more than 700,000 people in jobs across the UK, and I am committed to ensuring the arts are equipped to captivate audiences in the months and years to come.”

Meanwhile, sports in England will also receive a cash injection amounting to £300m, with cricket set for a significant slice of the action as fans return to grounds. Tennis and horseracing will also benefit from the funds.

Despite England playing behind closed doors last year and fulfilling overseas fixtures this year in Sri Lanka and India, and some county cricket being played last season including the T20 Vitality Blast series and the Bob Willis Trophy, the coronavirus pandemic has ravaged cricket.

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The ECB reported in September 2020 that the game could lose over £100m, and potentially up to £200m.

The government announced the original £300m Sport Winter Survival Package in November last year, which aimed to protect the immediate future of spectator sports in England as they navigated the difficult winter period. So far over 100 sports organisations have directly benefited from that funding.

Further details, including how cash will be distributed, how organisations can apply and timeframes, are set to be announced in the coming weeks. Allocations will be made in accordance to need and will reflect the financial circumstance of each individual sport.

While the funding is England-only, £57m of indicative funding will be provided for the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland administrations through the Barnett formula, broken down as: Scottish government £29m, Welsh government £18m and Northern Ireland Executive £10m.

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