Funding for arts, culture & creative industries

Creative UK, an independent network for the creative industries, launched a manifesto in April outlining six priorities for any future UK Government to respond to key issues. While two of these specifically reference an increase in funding, all strategies aimed supporting the arts, culture and creative industries would benefit from additional funds.

Suggestions include restoring the arts share of National Lottery funds to 25%, creating and maintaining arts-specific financial reliefs and incentives, and increasing investment in research and development to support new products and services.

Increased accessibility to the arts

Despite the opportunities and experiences that it can unlock, access to the arts sector is sadly still somewhat of a privilege. Socioeconomic status, mental and physical health, and geographic location are just some of the many factors that can affect how easy it is for an individual to access the joy and inspirational potential of the arts.

The Theatre for Every Child campaign, launched by the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, was set up to ask political parties to commit to providing funding and support so that every child can attend the theatre at least once before they leave school. Similarly, Creative UK’s manifesto states that a culture-rich education, complete with skills-focussed careers guidance, should be available to young people from all backgrounds. This supports the adoption of creative careers for a wider demographic, opening up more opportunities for innovation and industry growth.

Greater support for freelancers

Another issue raised by Creative UK is that of the lack of support and representation for freelancers, which they estimate to be 28% of the cultural and creative industry workforce. To alleviate this, they’ve proposed the appointment of a Freelance Commissioner, championing the development of freelance-specific legislation, covering issues such as pensions, late payments and the impact of long-term sickness.

As a freelancer myself, I can confirm that the government has never shown much interest in supporting us, which was made painfully clear during the pandemic when we were excluded from any form of financial assistance. With freelancers making up such a large part of the industry, working to provide better protection for the people in these roles would be a huge benefit on both an individual and national level.

How will the 2024 election impact the creative sector?

Using creative industries to grow the economy

As the UK economy continues to flounder, it’s important to find ways that we can unlock the growth potential of these under-supported sectors. Creative UK has urged the government to “capitalise on the ability of the sector to stimulate national economic and social prosperity.”

Their manifesto states that prioritising creative skills and education will help the UK to meet its target of creating 1 million new jobs by 2030. The proposed support for freelancers also serves as a model to improve the quality and success of self-employment throughout all sectors in the UK, strengthening the economy both now and in the future

The rise of AI in the creative and digital marketing sectors

Introduction of stringent legislation for AI

Along with the general election, another hot piece of news is the continuing development of artificial intelligence, and the impact this has on, well, everything. In particular, those in the creative industries are increasingly wary of this technology, with key concerns being copyright and intellectual property, the potential for job loss, and the loss of humanity in the creative process.

With current legislation unable to adequately address these complex issues, governments around the world are already being called upon to introduce new regulations to support creators. The longer the UK Government waits to introduce these measures, the more damage AI will have – and not just on creative industries. From spreading dangerous misinformation to facilitating fraudulent business practices, the impact of AI is far reaching, and kind of terrifying.

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