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.’