Sadiq Khan: I’ll back arts every step of the way in Brexit talks

Sadiq Khan speaking at the opening of Tara Theatre. Photo Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images Sadiq Khan speaking at the opening of London's Tara Theatre in September 2016. Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
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London mayor Sadiq Khan has pledged to stand with the arts sector “every step of the way” to address its concerns about Brexit and what it means for the industry.

The mayor said it was “not hard to understand why so many in the creative industries wanted us to remain in the European Union” and added: “We can all understand the anxieties post-Brexit. Our creative industries are hugely reliant on international talent. Almost half of your exports go to the EU. It’s unsurprising that retaining access to the single market is a priority for you.”

Industry leaders have previously warned that Brexit will be one of the key issues that the sector faces in 2017.

Khan, speaking at the Creative Industries Federation’s second-anniversary party on January 9, went on to pledge his support for the sector, promising to make sure concerns were conveyed to the government.

“So I pledge today, I’ll stand with you every step of the way. I’ll work to ensure your concerns are addressed by our government and your interests defended during the upcoming Brexit negotiations,” he said.

He also welcomed news that John Sorrell, founder of the federation, had agreed to sit on his “Brexit expert advisory panel”, as a representative of the arts and creative industries.

Khan described culture as “the glue that binds us together”.

“It brings so much joy and adds value to the lives of millions. It has the power to inspire our young people, develop skills and transform lives and on top of this it enhances our standing in the world, our cultural export, articulating our values and identity as an outward-looking, welcoming nation,” he added.

He said he would ensure that culture and the arts was one of his “top priorities as the mayor of London”.

At the event, culture secretary Karen Bradley also vowed to ensure the creative sector sits at the heart of a new industrial strategy being developed by the government.