Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader (Photo: Visual Hunt / CC)

Thursday 18 May 2017

The manifesto makes no mention of the increases in direct funding announced by leader Jeremy Corbyn during his leadership campaign last year. At that point he pledged to reverse the Conservatives’ cuts to arts, libraries, theatres and museums.  Instead, investment in the arts is now proposed in the form of a five-year £1bn ‘Cultural Capital Fund’, administered by Arts Council England, that will invest in creative clusters across the country. Arts in education is highlighted, with Labour promising to “put creativity back at the heart of the curriculum”. Although there is no firm commitment to introducing an arts element to the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), the schools’ performance measure would be reviewed to “stop the arts being side-lined from secondary education”. The manifesto states: “We will not improve standards at the expense of narrowing the curriculum.” A Labour-led education system would, it says, “enable each to find their path through a breadth of choice in courses and qualifications”. If elected, the party will introduce an arts pupil premium to every primary school in England: “A £160m per year boost for schools to invest in projects that will support cultural activities for schools over the longer-term.” To boost employment in the cultural sector, Labour says it will launch a nationwide creative careers advice campaign in schools, “to demonstrate the range of careers and opportunities available and the skills required in the creative industries, from the tech sector to theatre production.”