Johnny Marr and Nick Cave warn that UK will become "cultural wasteland" without government aid

A host of leading creative figures in the UK, including Johnny Marr, Nick Cave and Rufus Wainwright, have warned that the UK risks becoming “a cultural wasteland” unless the government provides financial support for creative industries during coronavirus.

In an open letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, more than 400 signatories called for urgent funding to help creative organisations and professionals who have been impacted by  COVID-19.

The letter was organised by the Creative Industries Federation (CIF) and also signed by the heads of the Royal Albert Hall, Film Birmingham, Royal Opera House, Shakespeare’s Globe, Tate, Penguin Random House, Northern Ireland Screen and Lionsgate U.K.

It comes after a CIF survey found that 50% of creatives have already lost 100% of their income. Others fear their income will dry up in months.

Other key signatories include the likes of PJ Harvey, Stephen Fry, Grayson Perry and artist Anish Kapoor.

“We cannot allow the U.K. to lose half of its creative businesses and become a cultural wasteland,” says the letter. “The creative industries are one of the U.K.’s biggest success stories, previously growing at five times the rate of the wider economy. The creative sector will also be critical to driving the U.K.’s economic recovery — and transforming lives for the better — as we re-build.”

Caroline Norbury, CEO of the Creative Industries Federation, said: “With venues, museums and cinemas closed, film shoots postponed and festivals cancelled, the UK’s world-leading creative industries are in deep trouble.

“Creative organisations and professionals need cash, and they need it now. Whilst 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.”

This comes after the Music Venue Trust (MVT) launched a new campaign, ‘Save Our Venues’, in a bid to stave off the continued economic threat to over 500 grassroots music venues throughout the UK.

The MVT are following up the Grassroots Music Venues Crisis fund they established last month — which has gone on to raise over £182,000 — with the initiative, with the fund now being renamed the #SaveOurVenues Fund.