Labour says the cash is “too little, too late”, amid fears theatres and concert venues may not reopen until next summer.
A massive £1.57bn coronavirus lifeline for the arts is being promised by the government, but theatres and music venues could still remain closed until next year.
The emergency cash aid, in grants and loans, has been welcomed by leading figures from the arts, but there will be dismay that there are still no plans to resume live performances.
There are fears that many theatres, concert halls and other venues may not reopen until next summer, which would mean them remaining closed through Christmas – with no panto season.
Labour has dismissed the handout as “too little, too late” and a top Tory MP said it would only provide temporary help – and claimed social distancing does not work for theatres and other venues.
Announcing the rescue package, Boris Johnson appeared to acknowledge that the return of many theatre productions, musicals and concerts of all sizes would not be possible in the foreseeable future.
“From iconic theatre and musicals, mesmerising exhibitions at our world-class galleries to gigs performed in local basement venues, the UK’s cultural industry is the beating heart of this country,” the prime minister said.
But he added: “This money will help safeguard the sector for future generations, ensuring arts groups and venues across the UK can stay afloat and support their staff whilst their doors remain closed and curtains remain down.”