Ensure our cultural assets reach people around the country
Last updated: 08:20pm 11 December 2019
Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.24
First, we recognise the value of institutions to the vitality of towns and cities. As we explain in chapter two, it is why we are determined to move many of the functions of central government out to cities around Britain where possible and to see our vast cultural assets reach people around our country too.
In 2017, according to Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport estimates, the Creative Industries contributed £101.5 billion to the UK economy. This policy is an overarching promise to spread the economic and cultural value of our ‘cultural assets’ around Britain.
In the manifesto, we could find no explanation of how this policy objective is to be achieved. Nevertheless, measurable processes are outlined in a number of related promises from this and the subsequent chapter, which we’re using to help assess the status of this pledge:
- Continue strong support for the arts
- Ensure more support for the arts goes outside London
- Maintain free entry to major museums and galleries
- Introduce a new cultural development fund to turn around communities
- Hold a Great Exhibition of the North in 2018
- Support a UK city to bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games
- Support a new Edinburgh Concert Hall
- Keep Channel 4 publicly owned
- Relocate Channel 4 out of London
- Share museums’ and galleries’ work and expertise across the country
All but the last two of those policies have received a verdict of ‘done’, and the last two are ‘in progress’. Most notably, we see a commitment to decentralise UK cultural markets through ensuring support for the arts and museums outside of London, supporting the new Edinburgh Concert Hall and holding a Great Exhibition of the North, which we recognise as first steps towards spreading the value of our cultural industries.
Despite an impressive record of completion on the policies above, work to fulfil such a wide-reaching promise may be essentially endless. We think that it is unlikely that a point will ever be reached at which it would be sensible to say, “We have now successfully shared our vast cultural assets with people around the country – job done”. While we recognise the government’s work in this direction, we believe there will always be an argument against the veracity of such a judgement. So, due to its comprehensive, almost never-ending scope, this policy will remain ‘in progress’.
Want to read more?
- Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport – Gov.uk
- DCMS Sectors Economic Estimates 2017 (provisional): Gross Value Added – Gov.uk
- Arts Council England
- Creative Scotland
- Arts Council of Wales
- Arts Council of Northern Ireland
There's always room for debate
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