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3 ways a new Government can support the UK’s visual artists

An abstract artwork with a blue rectangular and red dots.
As Time Goes By (blue), 2009 © The Estate of Howard Hodgkin. All rights reserved, DACS/Artimage. Image courtesy Cristea Roberts. Photo: Prudence Cuming

As the General Election approaches, DACS recommends 3 policy actions the next UK Government can take, at minimal to no cost, to support the UK's visual artists.

The UK's creative industries provide around 2.46 million jobs and have an estimated GVA of £126 billion, with the arts sector contributing £49 billion. In 2023, 91% of the population engaged in the arts, and the UK Art Market, worth £9.7 billion, is one of the largest in the world.

Despite their essential role in the sector’s success and the UK’s international reputation, visual artists need fairer pay and better support structures.

3 policy actions the next UK Government can take at minimal to no cost to support the UK's visual artists:

  • Create new collective licensing revenue for artists, writers, performers and directors when their copyright protected works are copied and downloaded on digital devices. The Smart Fund could raise up to £300 million a year for creators, and is endorsed by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s Creator Remuneration report.

  • Artists must be able to give consent, have control and be compensated for the use of their works in machine learning and AI training. Read DACS' Report: Artificial Intelligence and Artists’ Work.

  • A Freelancer Commissioner would advocate for the needs and interests of freelance visual artists and creative workers across government departments, as recommended by the Culture, Media, and Sport Committee in their Creator Remuneration report.