Lord Lloyd Webber: No 10 doesn't rate culture and I’ve never met the PM

25 June 2021, 10:24 | Updated: 25 June 2021, 11:03

By Eleanor Walsh

Theatre impresario Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber has thrashed the government in an exclusive interview on Nick Ferrari at Breakfast in a conversation about the government’s response to live performance during the coronavirus pandemic.

Nick asked Lord Lloyd-Webber whether the Chancellor had ever approached him or any of his companies to offer support and he responded: “Not that I know of. I’ve never met the Chancellor either. I’ve never met the Prime Minister or the Chancellor, in fact I hardly know anybody in this government”.

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Recalling previous conversations with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, Lord Lloyd-Webber said that Mr Dowden once explained that an issue he faces in government is “the difficulty that people think that theatre is not essential, [that] it’s nice to have”.

He added “Public Health England officials don’t have a clue about theatre and how they’re operated”.

Lord Lloyd-Webber criticised the delayed publishing of a report into the safety of reopening the sector and said he suspected that “one of the reasons why the report has been delayed is because the health officials didn’t like what was in it”.

“Why does this government not really rate culture? I don’t understand it," he said.

He said that he had been told by somebody “extremely close” to the report that the unpublished data would be enough to give the “green light” to the reopening of his industry.

Nick asked Lord Lloyd-Webber who he thinks is sitting on the data included in the unpublished report into the safety of reopening theatres, he responded: “I think… it’s not far removed from the public health area”.