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Theatres Trust: The tapering of the furlough scheme will close venues

The Trust has warned that the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will have severe impacts on the industry

Shakespeare's Globe, one of the venues that recently warned of closure without government support
© Jeff Hitchcock / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

The Theatres Trust has warned of "inevitable" redundancies and venue closures within the arts sector when the ongoing furlough scheme is tapered off later this year.

Last week the Chancellor announced plans to adapt and end the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (which gives employees on furlough a state-funded salary) by the end of October, though did not provide any information about new initiatives to aid industries that are unable to reopen before that date due to social distancing (including theatres).

The Theatres Trust, a national advisory public body for theatres, today warned that these modifications to the scheme (whereby employers have to pay a small part of furloughed employee salary as well as National Insurance contributions and pensions) "will make redundancies throughout the sector inevitable" and may "close theatre businesses", with 70 per cent of UK venues already stating that they'll run out of money by the end of 2020.

The Trust has called upon the Government to extend the scheme for those industries affected, to help safeguard both the sector and jobs. Earlier today, a report from industry leaders asked for the government to consider a £300 million investment in the arts for every three months that venues remained closed.

The Theatres Trust director Jon Morgan said: "Four theatre operators have already gone in to administration since the lockdown began. Unfortunately, we expect this number of rise rapidly unless the government provides urgent support for the sector. While tapering of the furlough scheme makes sense in other parts of the economy as businesses reopen , theatres remain closed and the majority will be unable to operate viably with social distancing measures in place.

"We are calling on the government to extend the Job Retention Scheme in its full form to protect our nation's enviable theatres and the people who work in them, until such a time as theatres can reopen fully and safely."

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