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Labour criticised after stating: ‘We won’t reverse arts cuts’

Harriet Harman has defended Labour's decision not to reverse the arts cuts. Photo: University of Salford
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Labour has been criticised after revealing it will not reverse cuts to arts funding if it gains power in this year’s general election.

After the Conservatives published a report containing claims about its rival party’s policy, Labour publicly refuted several of the “sloppy” assertions.

One statement from Labour’s press office on Twitter read: “[Page 44] of Tory dossier says Labour will cancel cuts to the arts budget. We won’t.”

This announcement has been criticised by arts figures including writer Neil Gaiman, who wrote on Twitter that the decision was “not something to brag about”.

Director Tim Stark also tweeted: “Why not stand up for the value of the arts rather than cowardly appeasing cuts that do real damage?”

Defending the decision, shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman told The Stage: “Because this Tory-led government has failed on living standards and failed on the deficit, a future Labour government would inherit a very difficult situation and unfortunately we will not be able to reverse every spending decision made by this government.”

The Labour MP went on to say that an elected Conservative government would be “disastrous” for the future of the arts, and would “continue to devalue creativity in education and…take public spending back to levels seen in the 1930’s – before the arts council had even been conceived of.”

She added: “A future Labour government would continue to value the huge contribution the arts and culture make to the lives of individuals, communities and the economy and we would ensure that we reinstate the importance of arts in education and we would look creatively at how we can rebalance available resources more fairly across the regions and make sure that everyone has better access to culture regardless of their income, background or postcode.”

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