The Welsh Liberal Democrats have launched a new campaign aimed at saving creative art spaces in Wales which have been hugely hit by Covid-19.
The campaign is being led by the Party’s youth wing, the Welsh Young Liberals, and calls for greater financial support from both the UK and Welsh Governments to support the creative industries.
The impact of Covid-19 on these industries has been stark. Large organisations like the Royal Welsh Show, National Eisteddfod and Wales Millennium Centre braced for over £30million of lost revenue and could take years to recover. Meanwhile smaller industries, most notably independent music venues, are faced with permanent closure.
In response, the Welsh Lib Dems and Welsh Young Liberals have announced a four-point plan they say will help revitalise the creative industry and support local businesses. The plans consists of:
- The introduction of a plan for the reopening of theatres, live music venues and rehearsal/recording spaces across Wales.
- The removal of VAT on all ticket sales, to encourage people to go support artists and venues when they reopen.
- Financial support to help venues adapt and become Covid-secure, including funding screens, hand sanitizer, and changes to venue layout.
- For the Welsh Government to back Lib Dem MP Jamie’s Stone’s campaign, supported by Excluded UK, to expand the furlough scheme to include all those who are self-employed as well as freelancers.
Jane Dodds, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:
“The creative industries and the arts play a key role here in Wales. They offer a space for people to develop their skills and provide a fun social activity, all while supporting thousands of jobs.
“Sadly, we’ve seen just how bad Covid-19 has ravaged these industries. With events like the Eisteddfod being pushed back and the news of job losses in key cultural bastions, like the Millennium Centre, it’s clear we need to step up and prevent irreparable damage to this vital industry.
“That’s why today we are launching a campaign to save our creative industries. Our four point plan offers sensible and pragmatic solutions, from reducing VAT on ticket sales to supporting venues to adapt to the ‘new normal’ Covid-19 has forced us into.
“I hope that politicians of all parties will get behind these plans so we can save our creative industries before it’s too late.”
Chloe Hutchinson, Chair of the Welsh Young Liberals and a Regional Candidate for South Wales West, added:
“We are really proud to be launching this campaign today. So many young people benefit and enjoy our cultural industries, especially our live music venues, providing entertainment as well as much needed jobs and opportunities.
“These industries were already struggling before the crisis, but now thanks to Covid-19 the situation is much more severe. If we do not act now then many of these precious spaces will be lost forever.
“I encourage everyone to sign our petition and make your voice heard on social media using the hashtag, #KeepWalesCreative.”
The Welsh Young Liberals petition can be found here: https://www.youngliberals.wales/keep-wales-creative