18 June 2013 at 7.09pm | Comment on this article
Tomorrow (Wednesday 19 June), Parliament will be debating the economic and social importance of regional arts and the creative industries. An Early Day Motion about the importance of arts and culture was tabled earlier in the month and has attracted the signatures of 59 Members of Parliament, however – like many EDMs - it has not been debated. Tomorrow's will be the first Commons debate about arts and culture in five years, and a key moment for Parliament to consider changes to the arts budget.
The issue of how rural arts organizations gain access to funding and engage with sponsors is one that we are very aware of at the Royal Opera House. Through our work in ROH Thurrock, and broader ROH Bridge project across the whole of the East of England, we are keen to pass on training and support, as well as actual jobs.
Thanks to all of you who already contacted your Member of Parliament to make the case for the importance of arts to the UK economy. As a next step, we would like to encourage as many MPs as possible to attend tomorrow’s debate so that they can hear the economic case for arts around the UK and participate in the discussion.
We now know that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport have agreed a settlement with the Treasury that will see their budget cut by 8% in 2015/16. As we understand it, cuts to the arts will be limited to 5%.
Peter Bazalgette, Chair of Arts Council England, said,
'This is a good result for arts and culture in such a tough economic climate… Maria Miller has done an effective job in making the case for the value of public funding, backed with powerful arguments from the culture sector, who every day demonstrate their worth through the brilliant work they do, day in, day out.
'We’ll need now to consider our next steps carefully, thinking about how we will make those tough judgments on how the money is allocated for the maximum benefit of culture in this country.'
How can I encourage my MP to participate?
Below, you will find a template of a message that you can use to contact your MP via the website They Work For You.
Tomorrow Tim Farron is tabling an early day motion on the importance of culture to the economy of rural areas. As your constituent I wanted to write to you to encourage you to attend, and to stress the importance of such discussions.
It’s key that MPs around the UK understand the value of the arts to their local economy. This is over and above the contribution that the arts and culture make to quality of life: the arts generate actual revenue and create jobs.
I very much hope that you will be able to participate in this important debate – the first about the arts for five years.
Thank you for reading. It’s vitally important that we continue discussions about the future of the arts and how they are funded.