Northumberland Conservatives welcome culture funding as concerns hand over county's venues

Conservatives in Northumberland have welcomed the Government’s £1.57billion package for the UK’s arts and culture sector.

By Ben O'Connell
Thursday, 9th July 2020, 1:23 pm

Thousands of organisations across a range of sectors, including the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will benefit from access to emergency grants and loans, it was revealed on Sunday, July 5.

It represents the largest one-off investment in the country’s culture and aims to provide a lifeline to ensure organisations stay afloat and protect multibillion-pound industries.

Coun Catherine Seymour, who represents Berwick North on Northumberland County Council, said: “It’s great news that our Government has backed the arts and culture industry with real, tangible funds to help them get over the major blow the Covid-19 pandemic has dealt them.

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“The Maltings Theatre in Berwick is in need of funding to carry on with its spectacular programme of theatre, music and cinema that we are fortunate to have in the town.

“Our magnificent heritage sites, museums, galleries are also in need of additional resources so this support package is something that residents and visitors in Berwick will be pleased to see.”

Phil Grieveson, who represents the Conservatives in Ashington, added: “Securing jobs will be key to recovery from coronavirus for Ashington and people should be able to work in the industry of their choice. The arts will form a vital part of that.

“It’s also no secret that the Conservative administration at County Hall has made the cinema central to their plans for Portland Park. Hopefully this extra money will ensure its customers will be able to enjoy British-made films with British actors thanks to the Government’s boost to home-grown talent.”

The row over the Ashington ‘hole’ – the Portland Park site where the new council HQ was to be under the previous Labour-run council – was recently reignited, with the Ashington Whole group demanding action from the current Conservative administration.

They claimed the situation is ‘politically motivated’, but a Tory spokesman said that the new cinema – which received planning permission in January – remains on track despite coronavirus and that ‘the continued investment is a huge vote of confidence in Ashington’.

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