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‘We Will Not Settle For Crumbs’: Entertainment Lobby Lambasts Budget’s Disregard For Malta’s Arts Sector

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Malta’s entertainment lobby, the Malta Entertainment Industry and Arts Association (MEIA) called out the government for its disregard of the local arts and entertainment sector in the Budget for 2021.

The association highlighted that the only sector-specific measure announced yesterday is a €1 million cultural assistance fund to address the multiple challenges resulting from COVID-19.

“Whereas the budget is rich on social measures, it does not consider the arts and entertainment sectors as drivers of economic development in a time of recovery,” MEIA said.

“It also does not address ways in which the sector can recover in the coming three years and recoup the major losses incurred.”

Around 5,000 people in Malta work in the arts, entertainment, film, and TV sectors.

“77% of them work in the private sector and contribute to the 7.9% Gross Value Added generated by the cultural and creative sectors to Malta’s economy,” the association continued.

“This exceeds the direct contribution of the construction sector and the accommodation and food services sector.”

The MEIA also expressed its skepticism towards the reintroduction of the voucher scheme, stressing that “most of our sectors remain shut down with very limited content to provide to audiences.”

The association had previously called out the futility of the blue vouchers in reigniting the arts and entertainment sectors.

“What use do they have when most venues are closed and restrictions make viability to produce events impossible?”, MEIA had said.

Addressing a press conference with the Chamber of Commerce last month, the MEIA had proposed that people in Malta are given €20 vouchers to spend solely on the arts.

“Overall government expenditure for the cultural and creative sectors for 2021 has remained at 1.6% of the total government budget,” the association continued.

“With only a very small share in additional funding and no new sector-specific incentives announced, we believe that government is merely providing lip service to a sector that is currently in difficulty, whilst safeguarding only its own institutions.“

MEIA will be calling an extraordinary general meeting on 27th October.

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