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UK Parliament debated support for UK artists and culture through innovative funding schemes

Paints and tools in plastic pots on window sill
Julie Umerle Studio, by Brian Benson

On Tuesday 22nd November from 16:30-17:30 in a Westminster Hall, secured by Former Minister for Culture and Digital, Caroline Dinenage, parliamentarians debated “supporting UK artists and culture”.

More than 2.1m people work in the cultural and creative industries, which contribute an annual £116bn to the UK economy. This acts as an important driver to a sizeable part of the UK economy and comes with huge international prestige. It gives millions of people across the country pleasure every single day with the wide range of things to view and become involved with, bringing together both local communities and our four nations. But too many governments have overlooked the vital role of the people – the creators and performers - who underpin this success story.

Results from a recent YouGov survey ‘Accessing and valuing cultural content' show strong public support for new ways to pay creators and performers who make the cultural works we enjoy and love. Sixty-seven percent of respondents think the government should be open to new initiatives to support creators and performers. In Tuesday’s debate, parliamentarians heard about the impact of the arts and culture to regions, supporting placemaking, sense of pride and boosting local economies. They also heard how schemes already in place throughout the world, but not in the UK, bring equitable payment for creators and performers whilst injecting much-needed funding into communities through cultural projects.

As former Culture Minister, I am deeply concerned at the number of low-paid freelancers who struggled to make ends meet, particularly through the pandemic. As the UK rebuilds, and we seek to cement the UKs international reputation for our creative economy, it is time that government looks at workable, sustainable opportunities already in place in Europe and the rest of the world, that the UK could feasibly replicate to ensure our country remains at the forefront of the global creative economy.

Caroline Dinenage

The Westminster Hall debate “Supporting UK artists and culture” occured on Tuesday 22nd November between 16:30-17:30 and can be viewed live online here.