The concerns within the cultural sector about the good end of 150 million euros in corona support that the government has made available to municipalities to spend on culture are justified, consultancy Berenschot told NU.nl when asked.

The Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) called those concerns unjustified in November.

Berenschot draws the conclusion from several of his own studies for various authorities about the need for and spending of emergency support for the cultural sector, and from inventories for the Taskforce Cultural and Creative Sector, among others.

Based on the studies, the consultancy is concerned whether municipalities are devoting all of the emergency aid from central government to culture.

"We see that a number of municipalities are not sure how much money they have received for corona support for culture, because all the support money that municipalities receive comes in in a great heap," explains Bastiaan Vinkenburg, sector leader Art and Culture of Berenschot, to NU.nl .

"There are also municipalities that are considering spending part of the money on things other than culture."

Berenschot was in contact with the municipality of Zeist about emergency support.

The Utrecht municipality will receive 450,000 euros from the State to distribute among culture makers, but let it be known that the city council has the final say on the amount of support for the culture sector.

'We look at the needs in society'

"The starting point is not that we focus on the level of compensation from the State, but rather look at the needs in society," said a spokesperson for the nearly 65,000 inhabitants of the municipality in conversation with NU.nl.

"If the need in, for example, the cultural sector is greater than what we receive in compensation from the government, then that will benefit the cultural sector. The other way around is of course also possible."

Almelo has received 441,000 euros in cultural support from the government.

The municipality has planned talks about this money with representatives from all affected sectors, not just cultural ones,

Tubantia

reported

Wednesday.

Culture sector expressed concerns in November

Both the Museum Association and the umbrella organization Kunsten '92 were concerned in November about the fact that municipalities could in principle use the money for other purposes.

The VNG called those concerns unjustified at the time.

"Municipalities are doing everything they can to ensure that money actually ends up where it is intended", a VNG spokesperson told NU.nl in November.

"We cannot imagine that it would be any different in this case."

With about 2 billion euros per year, municipalities are responsible for the majority of government expenditure on the cultural sector.

In November, NU.nl reported that Minister of Culture Ingrid van Engelshoven cannot guarantee that 150 million euros in corona support, which will be distributed via municipalities in the first half of 2021, will actually end up with makers and institutions in the cultural sector.

Ear tags, a construction to guarantee this, would only delay the successful completion of the corona support, according to Van Engelshoven, due to administrative red tape for municipalities.

That is why she chose not to use this drug.

'It's Not Too Late Yet'

"There is no complete picture of how things are going, because a lot of resources have still not been spent", Vinkenburg nuances Berenschot's concerns.

"But that is precisely why it is not too late."

Vinkenburg calls the uncertainty about whether the corona support for culture will end well, also among makers, "a major problem, for which solutions are still being sought".

Berenschot did publish a guide with tips for municipalities on Wednesday, commissioned by the VNG.

These tips should help them on their way to actually getting the culture support to the sector.