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What the Conservatives, Labour & the Lib Dems plan for the creative industry

The creative industry has flourished in the past few years thanks to a series of measures implemented by the coalition government to boost inward investment.

In 2014 the film industry had its best year ever while major Hollywood studios hired thousands of workers in the creative sector to produce films like 'Star Wars 7' and 'Mission Impossible 5'. The success of the 2012 Olympics also gave a significant boost to the UK's image abroad with the help of a skydiving queen and incredible performances from British talent.

With generous tax breaks luring productions to the UK, local film studios have had a busy few years, while the creative sector as a whole has experienced year-on-year growth. Chancellor George Osborne also recently announced he would extend tax relief to film and TV productions.

On May 7th, voters will decide which party they want in power for the next 5 years and ultimately decide which policies they prefer to support the arts. Below you will find the plans of each of the three main political parties and where they stand on the creative industry:

Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrats understand that arts, creative industries and culture are crucial to Britain’s success and essential for personal fulfilment and quality of life. The UK’s creative sector has been one of the great success stories of the past five years, and a critical driver of our recovery.

We are proud of the arts in Britain and will support them properly, working to deliver access for all, regardless of income, ethnicity, gender, age, belief, sexuality or disability. We believe the arts have an essential role in our education system and will work to encourage creativity in our schools and universities.

We will:

Maintain free access to national museums and galleries, while giving these institutions greater autonomy. Protect the independence of the BBC while ensuring the Licence Fee does not rise faster than inflation, maintain Channel4 in public
ownership and protect the funding and editorial independence of
Welsh language broadcasters.

Support growth in the creative industries, including video gaming, by continuing to support the Creative Industries Council, promoting creative skills, supporting modern and flexible patent, copyright and licensing rules, and addressing the barriers to finance faced by small creative businesses.

Labour Party

Labour believes that art and culture gives form to our hopes and aspirations and defines our heritage as a nation. The arts allow us to celebrate our common humanity in the creation and celebration of beauty. The arts should belong to all and be open to all to take part in. We will guarantee a universal entitlement to a creative education so that every young person has access to cultural activity and the arts by strengthening creative education in schools and after-school clubs.

Institutions that receive arts funding will be required to open up their doors to young people, and we will work with public bodies to rebalance arts funding across the country. The last Labour Government made admission to our national museums and galleries free to all, leading to a major increase in the number of people experiencing our greatest cultural treasures. We reaffirm our commitment to universal free admission to ensure that our great works of art and national heritage can be enjoyed in all parts of the country.

Creativity is the powerhouse of a prosperous economy. It is the source of economic innovation and a powerful force in social renewal. We will increase the number of apprenticeships in the creative industries. We will create a Prime Minister’s Committee on the Arts, Culture and Creative Industries, with a membership drawn from all sectors and regions. The Committee will bring issues of concern direct to the attention of the Prime Minister.

Conservative Party

One of the highlights of the past five years was the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. Those weeks in 2012 demonstrated the best of our country. When the pressure is on, we deliver; when the stakes are high, we come together; when it comes to taking on the world, we can win. We may not be the biggest country, but our museums are second to none. In music, art, fashion, theatre, design, film, television and the performing arts, we have an edge.

Conservatives understand these things do not just enhance our national prestige and boost our economy; they help tie our country together, strengthening the bonds between all of us. That’s why, despite all the economic chaos we inherited, we have put over £8 billion of public and Lottery funding into the arts, heritage, museums and galleries during the last five years. We have also boosted school sports and increased the share of National Lottery funding going to good causes.

We will keep our major national museums and galleries free to enter and enable our cultural institutions to benefit from greater financial autonomy to use their budgets as they see fit. Over the last five years, we have made sure that arts funding benefits the whole of the UK. We will support a Great Exhibition in the North; back plans for a new theatre, The Factory, Manchester; and help the Manchester Museum, in partnership with the British Museum, to establish a new India Gallery. We are also supporting plans to develop a modern world class concert hall for London.

We will ensure the protection and enjoyment of one our most ancient and precious heritage sites by building a tunnel where the A303 passes closest to Stonehenge.

We significantly increased National Lottery funding for heritage and have created a brand new heritage charity –

English Heritage – to support more than 400 buildings and monuments. And we will continue to support essential roof repairs for our cathedrals and churches, along with other places of worship.

A free media is the bedrock of an open society. We will deliver a comprehensive review of the BBC Royal Charter, ensuring it delivers value for money for the licence fee payer, while maintaining a world class service and supporting our creative industries. That is why we froze the BBC licence fee and will keep it frozen, pending Charter renewal. And we will continue to ‘topslice’ the licence fee for digital infrastructure to support superfast broadband across the country.

We will continue to defend hard-won liberties and the operation of a free press. But alongside the media’s rights comes a clear responsibility, which is why we set up the public, judge-led Leveson Inquiry in response to the phone-hacking scandal, created a new watchdog by Royal Charter and legislated to toughen media libel laws. Because the work of the free press is so important we will offer explicit protection for the role of journalists via the British Bill of Rights and we will ban the police from accessing journalists’ phone records to identify whistle-blowers and other sources without prior judicial approval.

Local newspapers are an important source of information for local communities and a vital part of a healthy democracy. To support them as they adapt to new technology and changing circumstances, we will consult on the introduction of a business rates relief for local newspapers in England.

The creative industries have become our fastest-growing economic sector, contributing nearly £77 billion to the UK economy – driven in part by the tax incentives for films, theatre, video games, animation and orchestras we introduced.

Our support for the film industry has resulted in great British films and encouraged Hollywood’s finest to flock to the UK. We will continue these reliefs, with a tax credit for children’s television next year, and expand them when possible. We will protect intellectual property by continuing to require internet service providers to block sites that carry large amounts of illegal content, including their proxies. And we will build on progress made under our voluntary anti-piracy projects to warn internet users when they are breaching copyright. We will work to ensure that search engines do not link to the worst-offending sites.

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