THE Government's £1.57 billion support package for the cultural sector is a lifeline - but comes too late to save some jobs, a York councillor claimed today.

And he said it was now crucial the Government provides details on the allocation and investment of the funds to ensure the cash reaches organisations and artists most in need of immediate support.

The Government announced over the weekend that it would be making the funding available after warnings in recent weeks of a looming "cultural catastrophe" as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.

Councillor Darryl Smalley, executive member for culture, leisure and communities at City of York Council, said: “This announcement is a welcome and much needed lifeline for the creative, cultural and arts industries, which have been devastated by the ongoing crisis.

“It’s been amazing to see the innovative ways in which theatres, performers and artists across the sector have adapted and brought their outstanding performances on to the digital stage.

"However, it’s clear that the impact of this crisis has been devastating on the industry. We have continued to lobby the Government, and work with representatives from York’s cultural and creative sectors to provide as much support locally as possible, for example through the micro grant scheme and recovery strategies.

“In order to protect the future of York’s museums, galleries, theatres, creatives and music venues, it is crucial the Government acts quickly to provide detail on how these funds will be allocated so that artists and organisations most at risk and in need of assistance can receive the much needed help they have been calling for."

He said the "devil will be in the detail", and he hoped the Government would stick to its £1.57 billion commitment.

He added: "However, if this package really was world-leading as the Government suggest, it would have been in place two months ago. Ultimately, tough decisions have already been made by cultural, creative, heritage and music venues in York – this funding sadly won’t save the jobs that have already been lost due to Whitehall’s delay.

“The cultural, creative, arts and heritage sectors are the life-blood of our communities, and they will play a vital role in the nation’s social and economic recovery. York shouted loudly for this investment, and I look forward to working with York’s institutions to ensure we get our fair share of this funding.”