The Government proposals to cut Higher Education arts courses funding is a blow to the arts and creative industries sectors which provide such huge economic and wellbeing benefits to the country alongside the sheer enjoyment of seeing exciting, inspirational and challenging work in galleries, and on stage and screen.
If these proposed cuts take place, they will not only negatively affect the pipeline of talent coming through our regional and national arts venues, but also increase class divisions by making creative courses less affordable – resulting in fewer opportunities for anyone outside a privileged bubble to find work within the sector.
The cuts will also damage the UK’s competitiveness on the global stage, where our creative industries are genuinely world-leading.
The arts have a huge part to play in the country’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, and the aim to “Build Back Better”. Before the pandemic hit, the creative industries were growing five times faster than the UK economy as a whole, and generated over £111 billion per year. The benefits of the arts on people’s mental health and general wellbeing are well documented – our own economic impact study showed that in 2019, we delivered £2 million in NHS cost savings through these demonstrated benefits. And the arts can help heal the social divides that threaten our country’s unity.
If the Government is truly “Here For Culture”, as it claims, these cuts must be stopped and the value of the arts properly acknowledged.
The consultation on these proposal closes today, but I would urge everyone reading this to take the time to make their views known via the Government’s online portal, which is linked here, and to sign the Public Campaign for the Arts’ petition, here.