Theatre and arts professionals will miss out on valuable Creative Europe grants from next year, after it emerged that the UK has chosen not to take part in the programme post-Brexit.
The Creative Europe programme awarded nearly €90 million (£78.6 million) to UK-based cultural organisations between its inception in 2014 and 2018, however funding will cease in December 2020 once the UK’s transition period ends.
A newly published policy document from the government does not reference Creative Europe when it sets out the programmes that the UK government is considering continuing its relationship with as a non-EU member.
Since the UK voted to leave the EU, British artists and companies have argued for continued involvement in Creative Europe, claiming its funding has been instrumental in helping arts in the UK thrive.
Caroline Norbury, chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation and Creative England, said the programme had provided access to finance, markets skills development and employment and described it as “an integral part of the success of the UK’s £111.7 billion creative industries”.
“As the UK approaches this critical juncture, it is vital that we continue to prosper as a global leader in creativity and creative enterprise. We call on government to ensure that equivalent, replacement funding and support is committed as a matter of urgency,” she added.
Meanwhile, Philippa Childs, head of BECTU, said the union would be contacting ministers to ask why the government chose not to pursue third-country participation in Creative Europe and to seek clarity over whether the funding can be replaced.
She said: “There are clear economic arguments for this funding to remain in place. The government must not take the success of our creative industries for granted in a post-Brexit economy.”
The Scottish Government also criticised the move, with its culture secretary Fiona Hyslop describing it as “incomprehensible”. She said she would also seek an urgent meeting with culture secretary Oliver Dowden to voice her concerns.