Corbyn pledges to reverse cuts in arts spending

Corbyn pledges to reverse cuts in arts spending

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will today promise to reverse cuts to arts spending and develop a national policy for libraries, according to the Guardian.

Corbyn will launch Labour’s arts strategy in Edinburgh, promising to reverse “Tory real-term cuts to arts expenditure and restore grant-in-aid funding of the Arts Council”. The party claims Arts Council England (ACE) has lost £7.2m in government aid since 2010, while Creative Scotland has lost £4.1m and the Arts Council of Wales £4.5m. 

In terms of libraries, he will pledge to develop a national policy and ensure in law that local authorities provide a “comprehensive and efficient library service”, including digital services.

Corbyn also wants to introduce an arts pupil premium for primary schools.

He is expected to say: “There is creativity in all of us but we need to give people the opportunities for this creativity to flourish… Labour will reverse Tory cuts to arts expenditure and set out a bold and inspiring policy programme for the arts, building on our proud cultural heritage.”

Other promises will include increasing the proportion of GDP the UK government spends on arts and culture to match the European average, creating a cross-departmental cabinet committee for the arts and creative industries and considering making dance and drama national curriculum subjects in their own right.

Last week, Corbyn pledged his support for a demonstration about cuts to the library service, taking place on 5th November.

However, earlier this week Labour’s shadow minister for culture and the digital economy accused Corbyn of inefficient leadership, saying his “incompetence” meant a campaign against library closures "went to waste".

Chi Onwurah shares the job with Thangam Debbonaire MP and said Corbyn’s refusal to speak with either women created an atmosphere of uncertainty. She said this meant she could not launch her library campaign because no-one knew whether or not libraries were part of her remit.

Corbyn's challenger for Labour leadership, Owen Smith, also voiced his support for the library service, pledging to “work with councils to encourage greater collaboration and cooperation between the 151 library authorities in England, and give councils longer term funding settlements so that councils can better plan ahead and meet local needs”, if he is appointed Labour leader.