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New Campaign Shines Spotlight on Liverpool's Culture Club

FOR the 1st time, Liverpool's arts organisations have come together in a brand new campaign promoting Liverpool's impressive cultural credentials.. The Everyman and Playhouse Theatres, Katumba, Bluecoat, Liverpool Philharmonic, Metal Culture, Homotopia, FACT, DaDaFest, The Comedy Trust and Liverpool Arab Arts Festival are just some of around 50 names forming part of the Culture Collective campaign which proudly highlights the City's vast and diverse culture offer.

Liverpool City Council's Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy, Councillor Harry Doyle:- "This is a hugely exciting campaign involving around 50 cultural organisations; from names that need no introduction, to those whose work is less well known but who are just as awe inspiring; and they're all working together to send out the message that their doors are open and they can't wait to welcome back audiences; old and new. Despite the horrendous challenges this sector has faced over the past two years, their resilience is inspiring and there is a real sense of positivity about the potential of 2022 and the return of local, national and hopefully international visitors. They simply can't wait to show people what's in store this year; from big nights out and reflective moments, to belly laughs and enjoying that shared moment of joy with others. Our City's creative teams are itching to welcome people back and by working together we can shine a spotlight on the City once again and see our much loved cultural sector come alive and thrive."

Billboards and advertising hoardings across Liverpool and Manchester will be emblazoned with slogans including:- 'The Place is Liverpool. The Time is Now,' 'Every Language. Every Accent. Every Artform. Every Style.' and 'Welcome to the City where the best stories begin…'

Local artists, Raven and Dayzy, are joining forces with Liverpool based Video Director Jack Whiteley and GoPlay recording studios to bring the campaign to life with a specially created soundtrack which pays homage to the City's enviable cultural scene. This will be showcased on the official website:- VisitLiverpool.Com and on cultural social media channels.

The arts sector has been 1 of the hardest hit as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic; with many venues closed for long periods or unable to curate in person programmes due to changes to restrictions. The Culture Collective is an initiative aimed at attracting local and Regional visitors back to the City, shining a spotlight on the huge array of establishments that make up the Region's live performance, music and dance, galleries and exhibitions, film and digital technologies, comedy, festivals and museums. This new way of collaborative working means resources, including:- the wealth of creative skills and experience, can all be shared and cross promoted.

The importance of the sector was highlighted by the most recent figures which show Liverpool's leisure, creative and cultural industries:-

Bring in around ₤3.3bn to the City Region each year.

Equates to 38 % of the City's econom.

A business rate contribution of 49.8%. This means ₤270.5million is invested in core services such as:- social care, health care and in education.

Supports 60,000 jobs... An analysis of 27 cultural organisations funded through the City Council's Cultural Arts Investment Programme showed that in 2021/22, 250,487 people attended live events; significantly lower than the 4.5million recorded in 2019/20.

The Culture Collective campaign has been funded through the Government's Culture Recovery Fund, which is administered by Arts Council England, some of the cultural organisations involved and Liverpool City Council.

Mary Cloake, Chief Executive, the Bluecoat:- "As 1 of the City's best loved arts venues, the Bluecoat is delighted to be part of a campaign to remind people of Liverpool's rich cultural offer and the joy to be found in seeing a show, spending time in a gallery or doing something creative. Liverpool needs people to thrive, and Bluecoat is playing a key part in reinvigorating the City Centre alongside other cultural attractions. We've done our best to ensure our historic building is safe for visitors so that people can start to enjoy culture again. While we were closed during lockdown we transformed our entrance area so if you haven't visited recently come down and see our fresh new look."

Michael Eakin, Chief Executive of Liverpool Philharmonic:- "We're delighted to work with Culture Liverpool and arts organisations across our City on the Culture Collective campaign, which will highlight Liverpool's world class cultural offer. As with the culture sector as a whole, the Pandemic has posed significant challenges to Liverpool Philharmonic, but since Autumn 2021 we have once again presented a busy and artistically vibrant programme of visiting artists from around the world. We are looking forward to continuing to welcome our audiences back to Liverpool Philharmonic in the year ahead."

Elinor Randle, Artistic Director, Tmesis Theatre, and spokesperson for the COoL Collective (Creative Organisations of Liverpool) which represents 27 key arts organisations based in the Liverpool City Region.- "We are very proud of the collective and the collaborative way we work across a wide variety of art forms and communities. This campaign is exciting as it highlights the rich diversity of incredible work our City Region has to offer. We look forward to sharing work, collaborating and welcoming visitors to our festivals and events in 2022!"

A 2nd Phase of the project will launch later this year.

TV licence fee to be frozen for 2 years

IN the UK have a TV Licence and can be fined up to ₤1,000 if you watch or record live TV without a TV Licence on a:- TV, computer or other device as they’re broadcast. Also, if you download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer:- live, catch up or on demand. Yet, not need a TV Licence to watch:- non-BBC programmes on online catch up services, videos or DVDs, clips on websites like YouTube or closed circuit television (CCTV). Before August 2020 it was free to everyone over the age of 75, but since everyone aged 75 or over needs to pay for their TV licence; the only exception being if you claim pension credit, in which case you can get your licence for free. This and also the decreasing popularity of the BBC has made many to question why the BBC is funded this way. With some even asking if we should keep the BBC at all!

On 17 January 2022, the UK's Government announced it will freeze the fee until 1 April 2024. Currently a single TV Licence covers all of the following in a single property:- TV sets, computers, laptops, tablets, mobile phones any other device that can receive a TV signal, and costs ₤159 (₤53.50 for black and white TV sets) for both homes and businesses. The cash raised from the fee is then used to fund the BBC, so the BBC says that this will put a huge pressure on already tightly stretched budgets. Nadine Dorries, culture secretary, who made the announcement also added that following April 2024, the price will then rise in line with inflation for the following 4 years. The plans cover a period of 6 years and will take effect from 1 April 2022.

It is expected that the cost of the licence fee will increase by ₤3.50 in 2024 to ₤162.50 under the new agreement. By the final year of the settlement it is anticipated that the licence fee will cost under ₤175. This is well bellow that the BBC thinks it will require to mentain standards against the competition.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Nadine Dorries, Culture Secretary, said:- "This is a fair settlement for the BBC and for licence fee payers. The BBC must support people at a time when their finances are strained, make savings and efficiencies, and use the billions in public funding it receives to deliver for viewers, listeners and users."

As many pensioners scramble to find ₤159 for TV Licence amid prison fears, and worry about imprisonment if they fail to pay, we ask what are your thoughts on this? Should the Government scrap the TV Licence Fee? Do we need the BBC? Do you think the BBC should be allowed to put advertisements on its websites to increase any lost revenue and to maintain standards?

With Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries Tweeting:- “This Licence fee announcement will be the last. The days of the elderly being threatened with prison sentences and bailiffs knocking on doors, are over.” Along with the running battle with BBC News over its questioning of Government's policy and actions, could this be more of a way of the UK Government trying to destroy a much loved British institution? Please do let us know your thoughts on this very complex and controversial topic, send them to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com?

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