Fifty members of the House of Lords have appealed for an urgent bailout for the performing arts, which they say face financial devastation as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
In an open letter to the Telegraph, a group of prominent peers make the case for theatre and the arts, warning that without "significant intervention", the damages will be irreparable.
"The creative industries are worth £111 billion to the UK economy each year. At their heart lie music and the performing arts, which face ruin as a result of Covid-19.
"This will be a devastating lost year for thousands of musicians and artists, and their families," the letter reads.
The 50-strong list of signatories features several peers involved in the arts, including former Royal Ballet principal Deborah Bull, producer Michael Grade, former National Theatre executive director Jenny McIntosh and former culture secretary Chris Smith.
Melvyn Bragg and Floella Benjamin also signed the letter, which highlights the difficulties faced by the arts’ workforce, many of whom are self-employed or on "precarious contracts".
It continues: "Last week, MPs and peers across all parties pressed the government on the steps being taken to protect musicians, other artists and those running venues who are falling through the cracks and receiving no financial support during the crisis. The message was clear: they need help now.
"Music and the arts help to define the kind of society we are. If we want them to survive this emergency, an urgent sector-specific package of financial support – similar to the €50 billion programme in Germany – is desperately needed. Without significant intervention of this sort, the cultural sector may be irreparably damaged by the time this crisis is over."
The full letter and signatories can be found here.