UK Labour Party Culture Policy

Labour’s National Policy Forum  was consulting on policy areas for the next manifesto until 24 June 2018.  This has now closed. See https://www.policyforum.labour.org.uk/consultation2018

Culture was part of the Environment, Energy and Culture Policy Commission which was tasked with leading Labour’s policy development on the environment, food and rural affairs, energy and climate change, and culture, media and sport.

The members of the Policy Commission are drawn from the National Policy Forum, the Shadow Cabinet and the National Executive Committee. Its membership reflects all parts of our movement, including Labour party members, affiliated organisations and elected politicians.

Nearly all submissions were environment, energy and climate change.  It is not clear whether or when the NPF will say about culture and what that might be.

Current policy is as contained in the 2017 Election Manifesto “For The Many, Not The Few”.   This sets a framework for Labour policy in the four nations, as well as making a number of commitments on devolved matters which relate only to England. The culture policies for Scotland, and Wales, referenced below, follow the national priorities and make commitments which relate to each country. In Northern Ireland, the SDLP (which is in effect the Labour Party in Northern Ireland) in its 2017 manifesto made no mention of culture.

Arts for Labour (A4L) wants to broaden and rebalance the current national and devolved policies, so that the fundamental principle which underpins the policies and informs particular commitments is cultural democracy rather than the current market-focused driver of the  cultural and creative economy. As we identify policies in local government or from other agencies which reflect this direction of thinking we will reference them here.

Please contact A4L with contributions which help build this case with the Labour Party in each of the four nations. 

FOR THE MANY, NOT THE FEW – CULTURE FOR ALL

Britain’s creative industries are the envy of the world, a source of national pride, a driver of inward investment and tourism, and a symbol of the kind of country we are now and aspire to be in the future. As Britain leaves the EU, we will put our world-class creative sector at the heart of our negotiations and future industrial strategy. We need to do more to open up the arts and creative
industries to everyone.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Labour will end cuts to local authority budgets to support the provision of libraries, museums and galleries.
  4. We will take steps to widen the reach of the Government Art Collection so that more people can enjoy it.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.