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.
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