The entertainment industry has pledged to fight against a hard Brexit and ensure that the sector has a voice during negotiations to leave the European Union, following last week’s general election result.
As Conservative Party leader Theresa May continues talks with the Democratic Unionist Party in a bid to maintain a Conservative government, industry figures called on the new government to ensure that creative workers are given a voice when Brexit negotiations get underway.
Creative Industries Federation chief executive John Kampfner said the election result cast doubt over the country’s political stability, but said: “One thing is beyond doubt, however: Theresa May has seen that there is no clear mandate for the government to negotiate a hard Brexit.
“Federation members were 96% in favour of remaining in the EU when surveyed before the referendum. They saw Brexit as a threat to the continued success of the creative industries, damaging growth and the UK’s global outlook. This general election vote now offers the opportunity to look at the issue again.”
His thoughts were echoed by head of BECTU Gerry Morrissey, who said the result was a “rejection of a hard Brexit and austerity at any cost”.
Morrissey added that the union wanted action to protect self-employed workers, and an end to plans to place more burdens on freelance workers through the tax system.
Equity also said it would fight to give creative workers a voice during the Brexit negotiations but also ensure that they were supported in domestic policy.
“Our sector is hugely important to the economy but without the right support for arts organisations and the creative workforce – particularly on the issues of funding, healthcare and mobility – we risk losing one of our strongest engines of growth,” an Equity spokesman said.
Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre chief executive Julian Bird said the organisation would continue to work with government to address issues within the theatre industry, “including improving diversity and protecting entry routes into the performing arts, supporting new financial models and a bedrock of public funding as well as maintaining and building upon our strong international connections”.
Prior to the election, the Conservative party manifesto pledged that should the party remain in power it would continue “strong support for the arts” in the UK, with a focus on allocating more support outside London.
Culture secretary Karen Bradley has been reappointed to the position following a cabinet reshuffle. Culture minister Matt Hancock was also re-elected as an MP, however there has been no official confirmation regarding his ministerial status.
Speaking to The Stage before the June 8 vote, Hancock said a Conservative government would put the creative industries at the core of its plans to support the economy, “whether in domestic policy or in Brexit negotiations”.
He also claimed that the arts could only be supported if the UK had a strong economy, something he said no other party could achieve.
National Campaign for the Arts chair Samuel West said he would like to see the new government commit to the three public arts funding streams – national government, local government and National Lottery – investing at least in line with inflation over the next parliament.
He added that the manifesto’s silence on arts education was concerning.
“We hope the new government will find more room in the primary curriculum for the arts, ensure all schools are properly funded to allow for trips to theatres, museums and galleries and think again about the downgrading of arts subjects through their exclusion from the EBacc.”
Andrew Hurst, chief executive of industry body One Dance UK, said it was looking forward to working with the new government once in place. He added it sought to work with MPs to ensure that “the unique and important role dance has to play in education, health and well-being, community cohesion, social mobility and diversity” was recognised.
Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, said freedom of movement for artists and a robust creative education in the UK would be crucial in ensuring success for the music sector and the wider creative industries.