The government has announced additional emergency measures to support the survival of theatres following the closure of venues across the country yesterday.
Measures include extending a year-long suspension of business rates to theatres of all sizes and cash grants of £25,000 for small venues to help them through the period of closure.
Chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the additional support during a press conference today (March 17).
Sunak also addressed widespread concerns that a lack of clarity in the government advice for theatres to close during the coronavirus pandemic will see insurers avoiding payouts.
He said: “Following the changed medical advice yesterday, there are concerns around the impact on pubs, clubs, theatres, and other hospitality and leisure and retail venues.
“Let me confirm that for those businesses that do have a policy for insurance that covers pandemics, that the government’s action is sufficient and will allow businesses to make an insurance claim against their policy.
“But many of those businesses don’t have insurance, so we will need to do more.”
Sunak said that businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 will now receive a cash grant of £25,000 to help them get through the period of closure.
In last week’s budget, Sunak announced business rates for theatres with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be slashed by 100% for a year.
This has now been extended to venues of all sizes.
Sunak added: “That means every single shop, pub, theatre, music venue, restaurant and any other business in the retail, hospitality and leisure centre, will pay no business rates whatsoever in the next 12 months.”
The chancellor also announced an extra £330 billion worth of government backed and guaranteed loans made available to support businesses to pay rent and salaries.
For small and medium sized businesses, the business interruption loan scheme announced last week will now provide loans of up to £5 million, increasing from £1.2 million.