National Campaign for the Arts Chair Samuel West issues statement following reappointment of culture team after General Election
In a statement released following the reappointment of Karen Bradley and Matt Hancock to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Samuel West Chair for the National Campaign for the Arts says:
‘The National Campaign for the Arts (NCA) looks forward to working with Karen Bradley (Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport), Matt Hancock (Minister of State for Digital and Culture) and the team at DCMS. This will be a challenging time for the country and the arts should have a huge role to play in the cultural, educational and economic health and well-being of the United Kingdom. We’re delighted that the Conservative Party Manifesto highlighted that Britain’s arts and culture are world-beating and are at the heart of the regeneration of much of modern Britain.
Before the election we suggested to those who care about the arts that they should ask three questions of their candidates regarding arts funding, arts education and ensuring access to great cultural opportunities for all, no matter where they live.
We look forward to learning what the ‘new cultural development fund’ referred to in the Conservative Manifesto will mean in practice, but the foundations of our world-beating sector will continue to be built on national government, local government and National Lottery funding. All these have been under pressure to varying degrees in recent years. We would like to see the new government make a commitment to ensure that the combined investment from these three sources increases at least in line with inflation over the term of this government.
The Conservative Manifesto was silent on the arts in education. This is a huge concern as creative skills are increasingly needed not just for us to stay ahead in the cultural industries but for the entire of the UK economy to remain competitive. 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’.
Finally, it was positive to see in the Conservative Manifesto a commitment to making great arts available and accessible outside of London. Many of our regional cities are already thriving thanks to their rich and vibrant cultural offer. We would support the new government in initiatives to ensure the end of the ‘postcode lottery’ of arts funding and make sure all families have access to high quality art wherever they live.’
Click here to read the Conservative Manifesto
After failing to reach a majority in the House of Commons in yesterday's general election, Theresa May is looking to form a minority government to remain in power.
No deal has yet been confirmed regarding the make-up of the new government, however the Conservatives 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.
Karen Bradley and Matt Hancock – culture secretary and culture minister prior to the election – have both been re-elected as MPs, however no cabinet or ministerial positions have yet been announced.
Ahead of the election, Hancock spoke to The Stage, claiming the Conservatives wanted to "see the arts flourish and see that success spread across the country".
He claimed that the arts could only be supported if the UK has a strong economy, something he said no other party could achieve.
Hancock also spoke of a new cultural development fund – pledged in the manifesto – which proposes to use cultural investment to turn around communities.
When asked about Brexit, 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".
Read More @ The Stage
Culture minister, Conservatives
What do the arts and theatre mean to your party?
We are strong supporters of the arts and theatre, which not only underpin our economic success but our society. We want to see the arts flourish and see that success spread across the country.
Under your government, would arts funding be increased or, at the very least, maintained?
Arts funding will be protected over the spending review and Arts Council England is consulting on allocation of an increase in funding to institutions outside London.
What are you offering in your arts policy that other parties aren’t?
First, the arts can only be supported with a strong economy. Second, we are proposing strong support for creative industries’ intellectual property and copyright.
Our proposed new Cultural Development Fund will use cultural investment to turn around communities.
If elected, how would you view the role of the Arts Council?
We strongly support the Arts Council. We have just completed a review of the Arts Council, which concludes that it is currently at a ‘high point’ in its history.
The review also recognised that arts and culture provide an enormous amount of value to people, communities and society.
How would you tackle the threat to the arts posed by local authority funding cuts?
The evidence is increasingly clear that investment in culture by local authorities supports local development and so improves the local economy.
We need to ensure local authorities understand this, so that they emulate the best practice of many local authorities that put culture at the heart of their communities.
We are working very closely with the Arts Council to ensure that all areas get the public support for the arts that they need.
We must ensure that local authorities are incentivised to support the arts and rewarded for doing so.
Under your government, how would you ensure that the creative industries are supported and protected during Brexit negotiations?
Creative industries are at the heart of our industrial strategy and so are core to our plans to support the economy, whether in domestic policy or in Brexit negotiations.
Concerns have been raised about diversity on and off stage and screen and about accessibility to careers in theatre. How would you tackle this?
Enhancing diversity on and off screen is vital, both as a practical question of ensuring we access all available talent and as a matter of social justice, so that all people have the opportunity to reach their potential, whatever their background.
We have made some progress, not least with the introduction of Project Diamond, but every institution needs to play its part in building a country that works for everyone.
What was the last thing you saw in the theatre?
The last play I saw was This House at the Garrick Theatre in London. It was brilliant, hilarious, and remarkably telling about how laws are made.
Read More @ The Stage
Election 2017: what are the arts policies?
The Conservative Party has promised more support for regional arts if it wins the general election.
In its manifesto, released on May 18, the party describes British arts and culture as “world-beating” and at the heart of the regeneration of modern Britain.
The manifesto says: “We will continue our strong support for the arts, and ensure more of that support is based outside London.”
However, the manifesto does not mention any specific funding figures for the arts, in contrast to the Labour Party which promised a £1 billion culture fund.
It pledges to move significant numbers of public servants out of London and the South East to other UK cities, including arms-length bodies, of which Arts Council England is one.
“For our civil service and major cultural bodies to claim to be UK institutions, they need to represent and be present across our whole United Kingdom,” the manifesto adds.
“It is also wrong that while some of our major cultural institutions have made efforts to gain a presence across the UK, others have not. We will put this right.”
The Conservatives go on to promise a cultural development fund for communities, and reaffirms a commitment to the Great Exhibition of the North in 2018, which will celebrate arts and engineering in the region.
Additionally, the party pledges to “promote British culture around the world”.
Elsewhere in its manifesto, the Conservatives promise to increase the overall schools budget by £4 billion. This follows concerns from within the cultural sector that arts subjects and teachers are being sidelined owing to budget cuts.
The manifesto also pledged to improve the country’s technical education and create new technical institutions.
Elsewhere, the manifesto also promises more rights and protections for self-employed people working in the ‘gig’ economy, and pledges to simplify the tax system.
Earlier this year the government dropped plans to increase national insurance levels for the self-employed following an intense backlash.
Read More @ The Stage
"I quickly learned that the general aim of each class was to identify something problematic, discuss it, and then refuse to do anything about it."
According to a recent survey by Touch over 40% of those operating small firms in the UK are intending to vote Tory on the 6th May. Just as significantly, over 71% of those surveyed said their experience of running a business had a direct bearing on their voting choice. This means that they take very seriously the commitments that the political parties make in their manifestos.
Touch have put together this short guide to the Conservative’s plans as set out in their manifesto and which have attracted the support of so many of those running the country’s SMEs.
A National Loan Guarantee Scheme
First proposed in late 2008, as the recession began to bite, the scheme could underwrite a significant percentage of new bank loans to business. It would be used to provide a diverse range of borrowing options aimed at business while helping financial institutions by allowing them to share risk.
Changes to National Insurance
From 2011 both employees and employers will be paying 1% more in National Insurance contributions. The Conservatives will counter this by raising the limits at which National Insurance is paid by employees and employers. This means 70% of workers will be around £150 per year better off, and most employers will benefit by £150 per person.
In addition, some new firms will be exempt from Employers’ National Insurance on their first 10 employees, for up to a year. This will apply to businesses set up in the first two years of a Conservative government.
Making it Easier to Start a Business
In order to foster the spirit of entrepreneurialism the Tories will introduce a Work for Yourself programme that supports start-ups. They’re also aiming for a ‘one-click’ registration model for business registration, cutting much of the red tape surrounding the formation of a new firm.
Corporation Tax Cuts and Simplification
The present rate of Corporation Tax is 28%, or 22% for small businesses. The Conservatives will cut these to 25% and 20% respectively and their manifesto expresses the hope that they can reduce them further in the future.
These cuts will form part of a larger reassessment of the tax structure, driven by a new and independent Office of Tax Simplification, whose job will be to look at the current taxation system, including those aspects that affect businesses, and recommend ways of reducing the tax burden and its associated bureaucracy.
Better Access to Government Procurement Contracts
The Conservatives want to make it easier for SMEs to get a bigger share of the £200 billion per year government procurement market. Their aim is to have small and medium-sized firms delivering 25% of research and procurement contracts. One way they’ll do this is by breaking large ICT projects into smaller components to increase the opportunities for smaller firms to bid for them.
Other Manifesto Commitments
Here’s a short summary of some other Tory promises that will have an impact on small businesses:
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