Speaking at a business and media conference in London on 18 May 2023, UK Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer outlined the government’s vision for the creative sector, emphasising a goal of enhancing the sector’s value by £50bn annually by 2030. In addition, the government plans to create one million additional jobs, an increase of 50% above the current level.
According to a Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) spokesperson, these targets represent ‘the level of ambition agreed between the Government and [the creative] sector to ensure the UK remains a global leader in the creative industries’.
Practical details of the implementation of the government’s proposals will be set out in the forthcoming ‘Creative Industries Vision’, a plan set to be unveiled before summer 2023.
While recognising the achievements of the UK’s creative industries, the Culture Secretary cautioned against complacency and acknowledged the growth of global competition. She emphasised the need for tangible government support to bolster the creative sector but said that ‘support cannot be at the expense of London or detract from those places that are already thriving’.
According to Frazer, the government will prioritise supporting skills development, ranging from music and extracurricular activities for primary school children to boot camps and apprenticeships for job seekers and individuals re-entering the workforce.
Responding to a request for further detail, a DCMS spokesperson stated that the department ‘is working across Government and with the creative and cultural sectors to support enrichment activities for school-age children and young people’, citing the 2022 National Plan for Music Education in England and the future publication of a Cultural Education Plan ‘which aims to articulate and highlight the importance of high-quality cultural education in schools, promote the social value of cultural and creative education, outline and support career progression pathways, address skills gaps and tackle disparities in opportunity and outcome’.
The government has also backed the relaunch of the Discover! Creative Careers programme to run from 2022-2025. The programme was designed to raise young people’s awareness of creative careers and pathways into them, and includes industry-led digital and in-person events as well as online resources and training for careers advisors. It specifically targets 11-18 year olds from underrepresented backgrounds across England.
Questioned about the dropping at the end of 2021 of the Tories’ election manifesto pledge of a £90m Arts Premium for secondary schools in England, the DCMS responded that, ‘the Government is committed to high-quality education for all pupils, and the arts and music are integral to this.
‘With the significant impact of COVID-19 on children’s learning, the Government’s priorities have been to focus on education recovery.
‘Arts education is integral to the school system and the Department for Education will also continue to invest around £115 million per annum in cultural education to 2025, through our music, arts and heritage programmes.
‘Consideration for an Arts Premium will be given in due course.’
Photo: DCMS Secretary of State Lucy Frazer. Licence: Creative Commons