It’s election week and given the horrific events of the last few weeks, its perhaps understandable that the major political parties have had other priorities outside of commitments to music and the arts.
However, the ‘One Love’ benefit concert on Sunday night was a life affirming demonstration of the sheer power of pop music and its ability to uplift and transform in the face of atrocity. In that respect, it underlined why many people were drawn to working the industry in the first place.
These are challenging times. Based on the manifestos of the main parties, what can we expect whichever way it goes on June 8th?
The Conservatives have already named the creative industries as a key area in their industrial strategy, alongside pledging to protect copyright and introducing a cultural developments fund, though details on the latter are sketchy.
Labour has pledged to upgrade existing infrastructure through a £1bn cultural capital fund and to clarify careers advice through a ‘creative careers campaign’. Education and training is an area in need of improvement in order to attract a more diverse workforce, so this should be welcomed. The party has also stated that the creative industries would be at the heart of its industrial strategy (sound familiar?) and Brexit negotiations as the UK prepares to leave the EU.
The Gen is not convinced there is much point in scrutiny beyond the two major parties but for what its worth, the Lib Dems would introduce creative enterprise zones and protect free movement alongside echoing the other parties assurances around copyright and IP.
What the above have in common is that beyond the pledges and rhetoric, hold them up to the light and they are thin on the ground. There are no post-Brexit assurances beyond acknowledging that the sector is a potential bargaining chip and that concerns have been noted. At least we got that across. But there is no real mention of, for example, workforce issues and ensuring that the UK continues to attract the strongest talent in the world.
What has shifted is that it’s clear that the main parties at least have a grasp of the ‘soft power’ of the industry alongside its concerns, from future-proofing venues to IP. Music is definitely at the table alongside the rest of the creative industries but the industry’s voice must resonate beyond June 8th when every other business starts clamoring for attention- The Gen is looking at you, newly appointed UK Music Chief Executive Michael Dugher.
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