Why creativity is under threat of a future Tory government

Studying a degree in the arts? Chances are that you’ve been confronted by a BSc student claiming their degree is more worthy than your Bachelor of Arts. Now imagine BA students are Labour and BSc are Conservative, or in another light, Jeremy Corbyn repetitively being told his policies are no use by Theresa May. It is this belittling attitude that aims to subdue creativity, while building an increasingly dominant analytical approach in a revolutionary technological era.

The surprise June 8th general election proposed by Mrs May has caused much speculation in light of her original and rather adamant attitude that there would be no general election until 2020. Whether this U-turn decision is correlated to the Conservative’s election spending investigation or not people can only speculate, but what is clear is the potential threat that the creative economy and workers will face if cuts to the industry and related sectors continue for another 5 years.

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Photo credit: Marus Bridge Primary School

“They’re making cuts to the education sector.”

That’s right, schools are facing the largest cuts in funding since the mid 1990s according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. It is estimated that by 2019-2020 funding will fall by 6.5% per pupil, while students attending college and sixth form have already endured a decrease in education spending of 6.7% between 2010 and 2011, under the Cameron-Clegg coalition. We all know how that old tuition fee promise ended up… torn up and tripled.

Photo credit: Wessex Scene

As much as we moan about it at the time, education is essential for building intellect, knowledge and developing character in a varied social environment. In a recent survey of 1000 teachers 80% of participants said their schools were already making cuts, while 9% reported that cuts to art, music or drama in timetables was an action schools were having to take as a result of a lack of funding. In comparison to mandatory subjects of Math, English and Science, topics classed under the arts are the first to take impact in schools, despite the ongoing debate of whether or not they are just as important to the curriculum. A 4% decrease in students taking drama as an option at GCSE is just one result of many to come. On a small scale this may seem insignificant, but the economic benefits that creative workers bring to the UK are estimated to be £10 million an hour.

And that’s what matters right, money and economic benefit over a child’s education?

Abolished Art Grants

Prior to the 2015 election, then Shadow Culture Secretary Harriet Harman, warned that another Tory government “would continue to devalue creativity in education and would take public spending back to levels seen before the Arts Council had even been conceived of” (Independent, 2015). Two years later and art grants from Bath and North East Somerset Council have recently been reported as obsolete, after scrapping their once existing £5,000 annual grant with a long term aim of saving £433,000 by 2020.

Photo credit: Banksy Brexit art

But what about BREXIT?

Of course, no political post would be complete without the big B. There will be an impact on creative cultural industries when the UK has officially left the European Union, as outlined by the Creative Industries Federation. Some concerns include:

  • The loss of rights protecting original designs with knock-on effects for trade showcases such as London Fashion Week.
  • The impact on the finances and international standing of British higher education of a likely cut to the number of EU students and academics.
  • Whether the UK will proceed with hosting the European City of Culture in 2023.

However you vote on June 8th, make sure you do just that, VOTE!