Let’s help Ukrainians rebuild says Bath MP

Bath’s MP, Wera Hobhouse, has backed her party’s call for the Government to create a ‘lasting legacy’ from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest by setting up a Ukrainian cultural reconstruction fund with the UK’s European allies. 

Eurovision 2023 was hosted by the UK on behalf of Ukraine – after Ukraine was victorious in the 2022 edition of the contest, amidst the initial months of Russia’s invasion. 

To commemorate the occasion, the Liberal Democrats are urging the Government to establish a Ukrainian cultural reconstruction fund, which would be a lasting legacy of the event and a marker of the close bond between the UK and Ukraine. 

The fund could be used once Ukrainian territory has been liberated to facilitate the reconstruction of arts venues such as theatres, concert halls and night clubs which have been destroyed or damaged by Russia, as well as providing funding for arts education. 

Liberal Democrat culture spokesperson, Jamie Stone MP, has written to the Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer, asking her to establish this fund and work with European partners to secure funding, as well as offering the British public the opportunity to contribute. 

Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, commented:

“It is no exaggeration to say that Eurovision in Liverpool was one of the events of the decade. What an honour it was for the UK to host this year’s competition on behalf of our brave Ukrainian friends.

“So let us use this past weekend for the good of Ukraine – by establishing a cultural reconstruction fund to help with the rebuilding of all the theatres, concert halls, night clubs and other arts and culture buildings which have been destroyed by Putin’s forces. 

“I hope the Government will ensure that last Saturday’s Eurovision Grand Final will leave a lasting legacy for our Ukrainian allies.”

The letter from Jamie Stone MP to the Culture Secretary is as follows: 

Dear Culture Secretary, 

I’m writing ahead of the Grand Finale of Eurovision – which is being held this Saturday in Liverpool. What an exciting night it’s going to be! 

As you’ll know, the UK is hosting Eurovision in 2023 on behalf of Ukraine, which won the competition last year. I’m sure that Liverpool will put on a show and do both our country, and Ukraine, proud. 

It is important to reflect, however, on the unfortunate reality that Ukraine is unable to host the competition because it is still under constant attack from Vladimir Putin’s forces. Just this week, yet more missiles were launched on Kyiv. I hope the whole country will come together on Saturday, in solidarity with our brave Ukrainian friends, including many who are fighting on the front line in defence of democracy and liberty. 

I believe that there is an opportunity for this week’s Eurovision Song Contest to have a real and lasting legacy for the good of Ukraine. Numerous towns and cities across Ukraine have suffered severe damage as a result of Putin’s illegal war. My party has already made the case to increase funding to organisations like the National Crime Agency, to ensure that frozen assets can be seized and delivered for future reconstruction of the country. There will, of course, be numerous theatres, nightclubs, dance studios and other buildings which are home to the arts and culture which will have been destroyed or damaged during the course of the war. I believe that this week’s Eurovision offers the chance to build momentum to help rebuild these important places, too. 

I am therefore proposing that, alongside the Eurovision Grand Final on Saturday, the UK Government launches a Ukrainian cultural reconstruction fund. The funds could be used to help with rebuilding important cultural assets in Ukraine once Ukrainian territory is liberated – as well as providing vital resources for arts education too. Thirty-seven countries are taking part in this year’s Eurovision – I hope that you will therefore speak to your ministerial counterparts in those countries to urge them to contribute. I have no doubt that the British public, whose spirit of generosity has been proudly displayed throughout the Ukraine war, would be keen to contribute too. 

I urge you to take this important opportunity, and look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Jamie Stone MP

Liberal Democrat Culture Spokesperson

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