The COVID-19 pandemic hit the arts, culture and heritage sectors hard. Museums, galleries, cinemas, music venues, nightclubs, theatres, arts centres and heritage sites closed their doors to visitors on 23 March 2020 when the UK entered the first national lockdown. Many organisations in the sector remained entirely or mostly closed for a year. Without targeted support, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (the Department) expected large-scale financial failures arising from the pandemic during 2020–21, with many organisations likely to close permanently if support was not available by September 2020. In July 2020 the Culture Secretary announced a £1.57 billion package, the Culture Recovery Fund, to help the UK’s cultural, arts and heritage institutions survive the pandemic, supporting their long-term sustainability. The fund’s primary objective is to rescue cultural and heritage organisations at risk of financial failure in the financial year 2020–21 due to COVID-19. The Department is accountable for this fund.

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