Changes Described As Short Sighted And Not In The Spirit Of ‘Levelling Up’
A leading lawyer to the creative industries has criticised plans to the Government to cut the funding of arts subjects at Universities in England by half, saying it’s short-sighted and makes no economic sense.
Laura Harper, a partner at Irwin Mitchell and specialist adviser to the creative industries and cultural sector, says the plans ignore the huge economic benefits that the sectors provide to the economy as a whole.
Under the plans, spending for non-prioritised subjects including music, drama and dance will be cut from £36m to £19m.
The consultation, which launched in March this year and closes today, recommends that the savings should be redirected to other areas such as nursing and computing.
The plans have been criticised by a host of musicians as well as the Musician’s Union. The Public Campaign for the Arts has launched a petition to stop the planned cuts calling it “an attack on the future of UK arts, the creative potential of the next generation.”
Research from the Design Council shows that workers with design skills contribute £209 billion to the UK economy annually and are 47% more productive that the average worker. And according to UK Music, the UK music industry contributed £5.8 billion to the UK economy in 2019 – up 11% from £5.2 billion in 2018.
As reported in The Guardian newspaper, A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Our proposed reforms only affect the additional funding allocated towards some creative subjects, and are designed to target taxpayers’ money towards the subjects which support the skills this country needs to build back better.”
Expert Opinion“These recommendations are very disappointing not least because education funding cuts of this level will mean that opportunities will only be available to those that can afford it. The Government talks about building back better but this doesn’t seem to chime with its levelling up agenda.
“Crucially it ignores the huge economic benefit that the creative industries provide to the economy. This benefit can only be maintained if we continue to invest in supporting a broad and diverse pool of talent. Of course no one can deny the importance of investing in nursing and computing, but this shouldn’t be at the expense of the economic benefits that the creative sectors bring to the UK as a whole.”
Laura Harper - Partner