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The cover for cancelled work is part of £65m in support for the arts announced in recent weeks. What's available in the rest of the UK?

The fund is expected to be oversubscribed as Scotland reimposes restrictions

Brian Smith

An £8m fund for creative freelancers "reflects the severity of the challenges being faced by Scotland’s culture sector".

Creative Scotland Chief Executive Iain Munro said the Cancellation Fund for Creative Freelancers is live. The scheme opens for applications at 2pm tomorrow (January 6) on a first-come-first served basis, but is expected to be heavily oversubscribed.

As such, £4m will be available initially, with the remaining half of the pot reserved for a future funding round. Payments will be quick, Creative Scotland says - within 20 working days of application.


Scotland recorded its highest ever rate of Covid infections over the Christmas period.

One-metre social distancing has been reintroduced and events were restricted from Boxing Day to a maximum of 200 people indoors and 500 outdoors.

There is no word yet on how another £31.5m for arts and culture announced by the Scottish Government will be delivered.

Scotland has bolstered its long-awaited cut of the Culture Recovery Fund by ringfencing £20m for culture from a £100m business support package, which the cancellation fund is drawn from.

Altogether, £65m has been announced for Scotland's arts, culture and events since mid-December. 

Culture Secretary Angus Robertson said Omicron's emergence means Covid is "once again causing disruption and uncertainty in the culture and events sector".

Munro agreed that "the Covid-19 rollercoaster seems never ending" but said Creative Scotland is working with the sector to ensure events can continue.

What's available

Each of the four nations has its own approach to supporting creatives in the new year, though most focus on organisations over individuals.

Northern Ireland's emergency arts funding programme opens on Friday (January 7). 

A second round of emergency resource support for English organisations - the eighth iteration of the Culture Recovery Fund - is open for applications via Arts Council England.

The funder has also directed £1.5m to support individuals to industry bodies Help Musicians, visual artists network a-n, and UK Theatre's Theatre Artists Fund.

Wales recently announced a £5.25m Winter Stability Fund to see organisations facing "genuine difficulty" - not just falling profits - through to April.

Like Scotland and Northern Ireland, the country has temporarily closed nightclubs to reduce the risk of Covid transmission.