JK Rowling has made an impassioned declaration on the importance of the arts particularly amid these trying times after she was drawn into a political row in the United States over emergency provision for arts funding.

The author responded on social media after Danny Malouf, who is running as a Libertarian Party candidate for the US Senate Illinois seat, implied arts funding was not vital as Ms Rowling "didn't require" government assistance to write Harry Potter.

Edinburgh-based Ms Rowling took to social media to contradict his claim yesterday.

The online debate on funding came in the wake of the US House of Representatives passing a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package, featuring a raft of arts provisions.

These included a $75 million supplemental fund for the National Endowment for the Arts and a new pandemic unemployment assistance programme for self-employed workers who are out of work due to the coronavirus crisis, including countless entertainment professionals.

Ms Rowling responded yesterday, saying: "As I keep being tagged into this ongoing debate, so I’m going to weigh in. It’s accurate to say that if Britain hadn’t had a welfare programme, my eldest daughter and I would have been in desperate trouble. I understand you’re not contesting that.

"However, you also seem to be asserting that I never benefited from government support as an artist. This is inaccurate. I received a grant from a government supported arts programme that enabled me to finish my second book.

"In times like these, and speaking as somebody who has several key workers in her immediate family, I can see why some people might regard artists, writers etc as about as much use as Cacofonix the Bard on the battlefield (Asterix reference, if you haven’t read it, do). However, even in wartime, filmmakers, writers and performers were supported by government to do the necessary work of improving morale and providing people with a necessary means of escape and respite. Art is unique to humanity and it bolsters our humanity."

She added: "The priority right now is saving lives, but I felt obliged to point out that I *did* receive government assistance through an arts programme. One of the many reasons I feel strongly that people like me should pay their full share of taxes is that the next JK Rowling may need help from an arts programme, too, and I wouldn’t want her to be unable to fulfil her potential because the money wasn’t there. Art matters, even in terrible times. Books have always been my greatest refuge and I know I’m not alone."

Mr Malouf remained adamant he was correct, however, saying: "Thank you for acknowledging the contested point...gov didn’t write HP, you did. .gov didn’t submit the work, you and Little did. .gov didn’t publish it, Bloomsbury did...etc..."

To which a Potter fan said simply: "Buddy, you need to sit down."

After a lengthy period of absence from Twitter, Ms Rowling has returned to the platform frequently in recent days, with posts ranging from pictures of her pets to cheer up her followers, to offering reminders of the need for everyone to stay at home during the pandemic.

In an uplifting weekend post, she added: "We will get through this! Stay home, stay safe and let's spread a bit of love and kindness digitally to support each other."

When a fan said they were delighted she was back on social media, she said: "We’re all in this together and we can do our bit to stop contagion by staying home and sharing love and jokes on here, instead."