The chiefs of scores of the UK’s foremost arts and culture organisations have joined the call for a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis, even as their own sector faces the biggest threat to its existence in modern times.
Sir Mark Rylance, Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys, Brian Eno and the leaders of the Tate, National Youth Theatre and the director of BBC arts are among those signing a letter asking the government to adopt green and carbon-cutting targets alongside its economic rescue plans. Close to 400 arts leaders and prominent individuals have now signed the letter, which will be presented to the culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, this week.
What we decide now will create the sustainable foundations for the future; we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a resilient recovery plan that is fair and tackles the climate and ecological crisis with urgency. We cannot let this opportunity pass us by,” they wrote.
The collapse of the arts, with a £74bn drop in revenues and about 400,000 potential and actual job losses in the sector owing to the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, has prompted calls for urgent government assistance, as there is little prospect of a swift return to full houses in theatres, or other live performance, and recording has been halted by social distancing restrictions.
But many want the government to go further, and commit to an economic recovery that would prioritise green jobs and ensure that climate goals are taken into account in government spending. They want to avoid the rebound in carbon emissions that a return to business as usual would entail.