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Labour Party pledges ‘national cultural infrastructure plan’ to support creative industries

25th October 2023

Bristol West MP and shadow culture secretary Thangam Debbonaire has unveiled how a future Labour government would support the creative industries.

“Culture should be for everyone, no matter who you are or where you live”, Debbonaire said during a speech at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool.

The former professional cellist, who was appointed as Keir Starmer’s shadow culture, media and sport secretary in his Shadow Cabinet reshuffle in September, added:

“Creative businesses can revitalise our communities and our high streets. They boost brand Britain, selling our talent and originality around the world.”

To support the sector and “fire up the engines of the creative economy”, Debbonaire, who has been MP for Bristol West since 2015, announced that if it wins power in the next election, Labour would introduce ‘Spaces to Create’, “the first national cultural infrastructure plan”, to boost creative spaces across the UK.

It will include a map that can be used by local leaders, businesses and philanthropists to “spot cultural spaces at risks and opportunities for investment and development”, while Spaces to Create teams will provide “guidance, training, learning and networking to get creative businesses on a strong footing”.

Skills and diversity in the creative industries

Debbonaire also discussed skills in the creative industries. She said:

“Successful creative industries are crucial to growing our economy. They will provide the great jobs of the future. But to do them, our children will need the necessary skills.

“So I’m working with [shadow education secretary] Bridget Phillipson on Labour’s creative curriculum to bring the best music, art, sport and drama to every child because every child’s talent matters.”

On diversity, the Bristol politician said “we’re all better off when we draw on everyone’s talents”, so champions of the creative industries need to tackle “tough questions” such as:

“How do we all share in the joy and the jobs? Where are the women? Where are the people of colour? Where are the people from working-class communities?”

An example of an initiative tackling skills and diversity in the creative sector is the Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme which is providing paid placements at creative businesses for young people from under-represented groups.

Labour’s announcement follows the publication earlier this year of the government’s creative sector vision with plans to add £50bn and one million more jobs by 2030.

Share your views on support for the creative industries

What do you think about Labour’s ideas? What are your views on the current government’s support for the creative industries? What do you think the next government, whatever party is in power, should do to support creative businesses?

Email Dan Martin with your opinions, ideas and suggestions. 

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Bristol Creative Industries is the membership network that supports the region's creative sector to learn, grow and connect, driven by the common belief that we can achieve more collectively than alone. 

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