Manifestos for museums and culture 7/5/2017

Following the announcement of a General Election on 8th June, culture and heritage sector bodies have highlighted what they would like to see in party manifestos:

The Museums Association has published a museums manifesto outlining priorities for the sector that should be adopted by the next government. Issues it raises include:

  • Free entry to national museums has been a success, doubling museum visits since 2001, and bringing educational and economic benefits. The next government should commit to continuing this policy.
  • Local authorities now spend 31% less on museums than in 2010, leading to shorter opening hours, a loss of skills and expertise and some museum closures. The government should mitigate the effect by working with local authorities, and increasing ACE's National Portfolio funding so it can be extended to more museums. Growing receipts from gambling taxes could be one source of this extra funding.
  • Brexit should not make it more difficult for tourists to visit from the EU. There should also be no new barriers for museum staff, or tariffs for museum objects passing between the EU and UK.
  • The Museums Review was due to be published in May 2017. The MA calls on the new government to continue the work of the Museums Review team and publish a report quickly during the next parliament.
  • Many museums have experienced a sharp increase in business rates. Government should simplify the rates and reduce the burden on museums.

Museums Association

The Creative Industries Federation has produced a brief ten-point manifesto for the sector as the government steers through Brexit.  Its wish list includes making it possible to easily move talent and intellectual property after the UK leaves the EU, introducing a new visa system, and maintaining national and local public investment in culture and the arts. The manifesto also promotes education to fill the UK’s creative skills gaps and suggests a creative skills commission on ‘practical measures to equip the next generation for 21st century life’. Creative Industries Federation

The Cultural Learning Alliance has published a manifesto for arts and cultural learning, calling for the government to protect and enhance children’s access to study in this area in schools. It says action will help diversify the workforce and give children the skills they need for 21st century life. CLA's requests include:

  • No school should be judged outstanding without a broad curriculum which includes arts and culture. Schools should 'humanise' the STEM subjects by fusing them with the arts. 50 'STEAM' schools should be created, specialising in this blend of subjects.
  • Music Hubs, Museum and School Partnerships and other similar projects funded by the Department for Education via the Art Council have been a success. This work should continue to be supported.
  • Every school with primary aged children currently receives around £8k as a 'Pupil Premium' for the promotion of PE and sport. CLA proposes a similar ringfenced sum to promote arts and wellbeing. This would allow schools to develop personalised programmes with the local community and arts organisations.
  • Plans for Brexit should support a strong and stable arts sector, which protects the talent pipeline and access to funding.
  • There should be a more joined up approach between education (currently suffering from a shortage of arts teachers), employers (who want new recruits with creative and entrepreneurial skills) and local authorities (where cuts risk damaging educational and arts opportunities).
  • Arts and culture should be at the heart of regeneration schemes, devolution and Growth Deals, as well as being included in Local Economic Partnerships.

Cultural Learning Alliance

The Heritage Alliance has published its own election manifesto, also highlighting EU funding, fiscal policy and supporting skills. Detail includes:

  • £450m of EU funds has been spent in sectors relevant to heritage in the last decade. Any replacement for the Common Agricutural Policy should support rural heritage assets such as dry stone walls, vernacular buildings and monuments. CAP has supported 24,000 such structures.
  • There should be a reciprocal exemption from rules to limit movement between the UK and EU for heritage workers.
  • Current government apprenticeship programmes such as Trailblazers tend to favour larger industries - there should be more attention to niche apprenticeships often needed in the heritage sector.
  • There is a 'perverse incentive' to knock down old buildings and build new ones because there is no VAT on new builds, but 20% VAT on restoration projects. Government should revise policy to help heritage buildings to survive.
  • HLF funding has transformed the way heritage is cared for; government should continue to protect the 20% of funds being spent on heritage projects.

Heritage Alliance