Party Manifestos 7/6/2017

Political parties have published their manifestos ahead of the General Election on June 8th. Labour has a section dedicated to culture and the creative industries, while other parties spread references to the sector throughout their manifestos. The Liberal Democrat Party says it will:

  • Maintain free entry to national museums and protect sports and arts national lottery funding.
  • Create creative enterprise zones to ‘grow and regenerate’ cultural output across the UK.
  • Protect arts and creative subjects in the curriculum and remove barriers to studying these subjects.
  • Double the number of businesses hiring apprentices including creative industries.
  • It  also asserts that funding for arts is ‘put at risk’ by Brexit, which the Liberal Democrats oppose.

The Labour Party describes the UK’s creative industries as ‘the envy of the world’, and its manifesto promises to put them at the heart of Brexit negotiations and industrial strategy. If elected it also promises:

  • A £1bn Cultural Capital Fund administered by the Arts Council to spend over a five year period. This would upgrade cultural and creative infrastructure to be ‘ready for the digital age’. Referencing how cuts to local authorities and ACE have created a ‘tough climate’ for some museums, the manifesto promises to spend some of the fund on projects to increase museums’ income and viability.
  • It will support free national museum entry; widen access to the Government Art Collection and continue to support First World War commemorations.
  • £160m would be spent on an arts Pupil Premium for children in every primary school, to support cultural activities over the long term. It will ‘review the Ebacc performance measure’ to make sure arts are not sidelined.
  • A creative careers advice campaign will be developed for schools to highlight the range of jobs available from the tech sector to theatre production. Labour will work with unions and employers to eradicate a culture of low pay so that those from less wealthy backgrounds can pursue work in the arts. Unpaid internships would be banned.
  • It wants to maintain UK involvement in innovation and education programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus.
  • Free movement has been repeatedly raised by groups from the cultural world responding to Brexit. Labour says ‘free movement will end’ on Brexit, that it would create a new ‘migration management system’ not favouring any particular area of the world, and consult with businesses and unions where there are skills gaps. It will ‘protect those already working here’.

The Conservative Party manifesto promises strong support for the arts, with more support outside London. It 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.”


  • It supports free entry to national museums and will introduce a new ‘cultural development fund’ to use cultural investment to turn around communities.
  • It will help build up the investment funds of universities so they will ‘lead the expansion of our R&D capacity’.
  • Some sectors have a skills shortage and the new immigration system will ‘address the immediate needs’, while developing skills needed for the future.  Immigration will be limited to ‘tens of thousands’. Overseas students will remain part of the immigration statistics.
  • In education, the aim is to raise the number of children taking the Ebacc to 90% by 2025. It will introduce a ‘curriculum fund’ to encourage Britain’s ‘leading cultural and scientific institutions, like the British Museum’ to develop materials for schools.
  • There will be a UCAS style portal for young people seeking technical education and discounted bus and train travel for those taking part in apprenticeships.
  • It will move significant numbers of public servants outside London, including arm’s length bodies. (The Arts Council is one such arm’s length body and so might be considered a candidate for such a move).
  • It will continue to promote the UK’s cultural institutions around the world and put the BBC World Service and British Council on a ‘secure footing’ to help achieve this.

The SNP’s manifesto makes no direct mention of arts, culture or museums, but touches on related issues of education, tourism and migration.

  • It will campaign to reinstate the Post Study Work Visa for those attending university in Scotland, and seek clarity about what will replace funding for schemes such as Horizon 20:20.
  • Tourism is a vital part of Scotland’s economy: the SNP will press for border checks which are as seamless as possible after the UK exits the EU, so as not to discourage international visitors.
  • It will seek a devolution of immigration powers so Scotland can have a policy that ‘works for our economy and society’.

The Stage, Manifestos: Labour Party (Creative Industries from pg 95), Liberal Democrat, Conservative, SNP, Museums Journal (scroll for cultural summary of all manifestos) Heritage Alliance