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Labour pledges to restore ‘investment arts deserve’

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Photo: Twocoms/Shutterstock Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Photo: Twocoms/Shutterstock
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Labour has launched a creative manifesto pledging to reverse the damage wrought by Conservative cuts to the arts if Jeremy Corbyn is elected prime minister.

The Labour leader and deputy leader Tom Watson, who is also the shadow culture secretary, are set to unveil a strategy entitled A Creative Future for All that promises to put culture at the heart of the economy and the community.

“Under the Tories, arts and culture have been among the first targets of cuts; under Labour, they will get the investment they deserve,” a foreword by Corbyn and Watson said.

The document is split into four sections, which focus on building the UK’s cultural infrastructure, increasing access, putting creativity at the heart of the curriculum and ensuring the creative industries are not “shackled” by Brexit.

The manifesto builds on the arts commitments in the party’s main election manifesto. These include a £1 billion cultural capital fund, which would invest in the UK’s “creative infrastructure” and in using culture as an economic driver.

Labour has also pledged to maintain free entry to museums, protect grassroots music venues, and extend the £1,000 business rates relief – currently afforded to pubs – to small venues.

Elsewhere, the party has promised to work with trade unions and employers to tackle the culture of low and no pay in careers such as acting, to make the profession more open to people from working-class backgrounds.

It also said it would extend rights such as shared parental pay to all workers, including the self-employed.

A £160 million pupil premium for the arts and review of the English Baccalaureate would help put cultural subjects on a better footing in schools, Labour claimed, with the party also pledging to launch a creative advice campaign and invest in school arts.

Lastly, Labour said it understood the serious concerns from within the creative industries around Brexit, and would ensure that “the right deal” is achieved on issues such as intellectual property, customs, access to investment and workforce.

Under a Labour government, the culture secretary would be represented on the Brexit cabinet committee, something which is not currently the case.

The creative manifesto is being launched in Hull on May 22.