The Arts Manifesto

Tuesday, 6 June 2017


You are probably bored of all the headlines and programmes on TV recently about the up coming general election but the importance of voting is essential.

Ever 5 years we have the opportunity to change the course of the country and whether the politicians lie about their policies, I guess you have to be in it to win it.

Now every person has their own reason for voting for a leader or a party, and whether you vote on policies for the NHS, housing or the environment the choice is yours.

However, this time around I was shocked to see the lack of arts policies in all the major parties manifestos. There was none the less one party that did mention their arts, or should I say culture policy, and that was Labour.

Here is what Labour are proposing for the arts:

'We will introduce a £1 billion Cultural Capital Fund to upgrade our existing cultural and creative infrastructure to be ready for the digital age and invest in creative clusters across the country, based on a similar model to enterprise zones. Administered by the Arts Council, the fund will be available over a five-year period. It will be among the biggest arts infrastructure funds ever, transforming the country’s cultural landscape. 

Labour will maintain free entry to museums and invest in our museums and heritage sector. Conservative cuts to the Arts Council and local authorities have created a very tough financial climate for museums, with some closing or reducing their services, and others starting to charge entry fees. The Cultural Capital Fund will have a particular focus on projects that could increase museums’ and galleries’ income and viability.

Labour will end cuts to local authority budgets to support the provision of libraries, museums and galleries. We will take steps to widen the reach of the Government Art Collection so that more people can enjoy it. 

We will continue to mark the ongoing centenary of the First World War, and the sacrifice of all those who died during it. Labour remains committed to honouring the role of all who have served our country, including the Sikh, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish soldiers who fought for Britain. 

Our thriving creative sector, from the games industry to fashion, needs a strong pipeline of skilled talent to sustain its growth. 

Labour will introduce an arts pupil premium to every primary school in England – a £160 million annual per year boost for schools to invest in projects that will support cultural activities for schools over the longer term. We will put creativity back at the heart of the curriculum, reviewing the EBacc performance measure to make sure arts are not sidelined from secondary education. 

Labour will launch a creative careers advice campaign in schools to demonstrate the range of careers and opportunities available, and the skills required in the creative industries, from the tech sector to theatre production. 

Being a performer is a great career. But too often the culture of low or no pay means it isn’t an option for those without well-off families to support them. We will work with trade unions and employers to agree sector-specific advice and guidelines on pay and employment standards that will make the sector more accessible to all. 

We will improve diversity on and off- screen, working with the film industry and public service and commercial broadcasters to find rapid solutions to improve diversity. 

We recognise the serious concern about the ‘value gap’ between producers of creative content and the digital services that profit from its use, and we will work with all sides to review the way that innovators and artists are rewarded for their work in the digital age 

Music venues play a vital role in supporting the music industry’s infrastructure and ensuring a healthy music industry continues in Britain. Labour will review extending the £1,000 pub relief business rates scheme to small music venues. 

And we will introduce an ‘agent of change’ principle in planning law, to ensure that new housing developments can coexist with existing music venues.

We all need to work harder to keep children safe online. Labour will ensure that tech companies are obliged to take measures that further protect children and tackle online abuse. We will ensure that young people understand and are able to easily remove any content they shared on the internet before they turned 18.'

They have also pledged this for the media:

The BBC is a national asset we should all be proud of. Unlike the Conservatives, Labour will always support it and uphold it's independence. We will ensure the BBC and public service broadcasting has a healthy future. Labour is committed to keeping Channel 4 in public ownership and guarantee the future of Welsh-language broadcaster S4C. 

Victims of phone hacking have been let down by a Conservative government that promised them justice, but failed to follow through. We will implement the recommendations of part one of the Leveson Inquiry and commence part two which will look into the corporate governance failures that allowed the hacking scandal to occur. 

Local newspapers and broadcasting in Britain are an important part of our democracy and culture. We are concerned about closures of local media outlets and the reductions in number of local journalists. Labour will hold a national review local media and into the ownership of national media to ensure plurality. 

To protect democracy and media freedom, we will take steps to ensure that Ofcom is better able to safeguard a healthy plurality of media ownership and to put in place clearer rules on who is fit and proper to own or run TV and radio stations.

I find it very interesting that no other party has pledged anything, or anything I can find. So whether you vote Greens, Conservative, UKIP, Labour or the Lib Dems please consider the arts in your vote.

But most importantly, don't forget to vote this Thursday.

Joseph

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