Theatre News

Over half the arts, entertainment and recreation workforce has been furloughed – more than any other industry

New findings from the ONS has shown that the arts sector has suffered significantly during the pandemic

A venue with spectators
A venue with spectators

New findings from the ONS (Office of National Statistics) has shown that the arts, entertainment and recreation industries have been hard-hit by the ongoing pandemic.

In new data released today, it was revealed that 51 per cent of employees in those industries have been furloughed (utilising the government's job retention scheme), compared with an average 13 per cent across the country – almost four times more than the norm. 89 per cent of companies have also applied for the job retention scheme as well.

Almost a quarter of arts businesses have warned that they are at risk of insolvency, compared with an average 11 per cent for the country. Footfall for the arts and entertainment sector has also said that, unsurprisingly, footfall has fallen by 76 per cent since the pandemic commenced.

The same volume of arts and entertainment businesses have said that they have either closed or paused trading, again the most out of any in the country. Unsurprisingly as a result, 78 per cent of arts companies have said they've seen a decrease in turnover compared with 2019. 47 per cent also say that operating costs exceed turnover, again, the highest volume out of any industry.

Over 50 per cent of arts and entertainment organisations warn that they have less than six month's cash reserves remaining, with six per cent saying they have none at all.

It isn't all bad signs for the sector – it seems that eight per cent of the arts industry has been able to reopen in the last two weeks alone, the highest growth for any sector in the UK.

The Chancellor recently confirmed that the furlough scheme would not be extended for any industry, to the dismay of many within the arts.