Charlotte Church 'disappointed' by government's treatment of arts industry during pandemic

Charlotte Church during the Pussy Riot: In Conversation event, at The Park stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset.
Charlotte Church (PA)

Charlotte Church has hit out at the government over its treatment of the entertainment industry during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Voice Of An Angel star said the entire industry has been “hit really hard”, with live events off the table for now, and suggested she hasn’t been impressed by how it’s been dealt with.

She also criticised Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s suggestion that people were having to “adapt” the jobs they do as a result of the pandemic, saying it was “frankly quite insulting”.

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Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Church said: “The creative industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the whole of the UK, worth something like over £80 billion, so not only is it really really important to our economy but also it’s vastly important for our wellbeing and for our entire culture.”

“So I’m really disappointed with the way the government has treated the arts, especially the sort of ‘retrain scheme’ which I just found frankly quite insulting, the idea that if you are an artist of any type, just retrain, just retrain,” added the mum-of-two.

Church said the pandemic was not going to last forever and that we “need to start thinking about what sort of society do we want to build, what have we learned from this pandemic, what has it taught us about sustainability and the economy and the way in which we live”.

“There are many lessons to be learnt here and I think this is a wonderful opportunity to reflect,” said the Crazy Chick singer.

Charlotte Church performs her Late Night Pop Dungeon live at Bestival 2017 at Lulworth Castle - Wareham. Picture date: Saturday 9th September 2017. Photo credit should read: David Jensen/EMPICS Entertainment
Charlotte Church on stage in 2017 (David Jensen/EMPICS Entertainment)

Church, 34, is not the first star to criticise Sunak’s comments.

The chancellor said in an interview last year that people in “all walks of life” would have to adapt because of the impact of the pandemic.

Liam Gallagher and Sue Perkins were among the figures in the arts world who spoke out against what they saw as Sunak’s suggestion that they retrain.

However, the politician later clarified his remarks, making it was clear he was not targeting the arts industry.

Sharing a transcript of the interview, he wrote on Twitter: “To people concerned by inaccurate reports that I told musicians to retrain... here’s the transcript.

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“I did not say it and I do not think it.

“Musicians don't need to retrain.

“When it's safe, venues need to reopen. That's why we've created a £1.57bn package to protect the arts.”

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