Actor Samuel West, chair of lobbying group National Campaign for the Arts, has urged culture secretary Sajid Javid to avoid calling on the sector to “prove” its financial value as he begins his new role.
Responding to Javid’s appointment today, West said he could point the culture secretary to 18 reports that already demonstrate the arts’ economic benefits, and said Javid should have a “more far-sighted vision”. This, he said, should be one that recognises the creative industries as being “good for people’s physical and mental health”.
West said: “Someone who’s come from the Treasury will understand how much the tiny fraction of our public spending invested in the arts does for the country, both here and internationally. We’re one of the fastest growing and most successful sectors of the UK economy, punching well above our weight.”
He added: “I hope Sajid Javid’s first speech doesn’t ask the sector to prove the ‘financial value of the arts’ again – I can send him at least 18 recent reports that have already proved exactly that. What’s needed is a more far-sighted vision that sees the creative industries as not just profitable financially but good for people’s physical and mental health, their continuing education and their sense of self.”