Following the Conservative Party’s win in this week’s general election, we look at what the party has offered in its manifesto to support the arts.
The win follows a period of lobbying from the creative industries, which warned that neglecting to recognise the importance of the sector would be “tremendously short sighted”, and urged the successful party to address industry issues including Brexit and regional theatre funding.
The Conservative Party’s manifesto pledged to “maintain [its] support for the arts and culture”, with promises to introduce a pupil premium for the arts.
It said the party wants young people to “learn creative skills and widen their horizons”, claiming that it would introduce an arts premium to secondary schools “to fund enriching activities for all pupils”.
Declining access to creative education continues to be a leading concern among the arts sector, with many calling on the government to scrap or reform the English Baccalaureate because of the detrimental impact it has had on arts uptake in schools.
The manifesto does not mention the EBacc by name, but stresses its continued commitment to core subjects and a “rich academic curriculum”. It argues it will maintain this alongside promised investments in the arts, music and sport.
Elsewhere, the manifesto promises to review business rates, promising to extend “the discount to grassroots music venues, small cinemas and pubs”.
It suggests the UK’s arts organisations should play a role in the planned Festival of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 2022 – dubbed the festival of Brexit.
In terms of individual ministers, both Nicky Morgan and Tom Watson, formerly culture secretary and shadow culture secretary, stepped down as MPs ahead of the election, as did former culture minister Ed Vaizey.
This means the UK will have a new culture secretary leading the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, who is expected to be announced in a reshuffle next week.
Labour MP Tracy Brabin and Conservative MP Giles Watling, co-chairs of the newly created All-Party Parliamentary Group for Theatre, both held on to their seats in Batley and Spen and Clacton respectively.