Do the manifestos meet the needs of museums?

A round up of political parties’ policies that affect arts and culture
Nicola Sullivan
In an election campaign dominated by Brexit, security, and social care, there has not been much discussion around policies that affect museums and cultural institutions.

Museums Journal has unpicked the manifestos of the major political parties as culture professionals prepare to head to the polls.

Ensure more of the support for the arts is based outside London.

Maintain free entry to the permanent collections of major national museums and galleries, and introduce a new cultural development fund to use cultural investment to turn around communities.

Work with the nation’s most eminent museums and galleries to ensure their works and expertise are shared across the country.
Reduce immigration from outside the European Union.
Toughen the visa requirements for students, and expect students to leave the country at the end of their course, unless they meet new, higher requirements that allow them to work in Britain.
Deliver a “smooth” departure from the EU.
Will seek to replicate all existing EU free trade agreements and support the ratification of trade agreements entered into during our EU membership.
Make longer-term reforms to the system to address concerns about the way the business rates revaluation system currently works.


Put the creative sector at the heart of negotiations and future industrial strategy as Britain leaves the EU.

Introduce a £1bn fund to upgrade existing cultural and creative infrastructure to be ready for the digital age. Administered by Arts Council England, the fund will be available over a five-year period, and will focus on projects that could increase museums’ and galleries’ income and viability.

End cuts to local authority budgets to support the provision of libraries, museums and galleries.

Widen the reach of the Government Art Collection so that more people can enjoy it. Continue to mark the ongoing centenary of the first world war.

Launched a standalone culture manifesto.

Introduce an arts pupil premium to every primary school in England.

Review the EBacc performance measure to make sure arts are not sidelined from secondary education.

Launch a 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.

Work with trade unions and employers to agree sector-specific advice and guidelines on pay and employment standards that will make the sector more accessible to all.
Reforms business rates.
Guarantee existing rights for all EU nationals living in Britain and secure reciprocal rights for UK citizens who have chosen to make their lives in EU countries.
Abolish the government’s Brexit white paper and replace it with a document with a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the single market and the customs union.

Liberal Democrats

Maintain free entry to national museums and galleries, and ensure that they receive protected funding status within local authority budgets.

Committed to completing the Department for Culture Media and Sport's museums review 
Allow the electorate to vote on the final Brexit deal in a referendum, with the alternative option of staying in the EU on the ballot paper. The Liberal Democrats believe that there is no deal as good for the UK outside the EU as the one it already has as a member.
Press for the UK to guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the UK, and call for the overhaul and simplification of the registration process and the requirements for EU nationals to obtain permanent residence and UK citizenship.
Any deal negotiated for the UK outside the EU must ensure that trade can continue without customs controls at the border, and must maintain membership of the single market and protect freedom of movement.  
Devolve further fiscal powers to the devolved governments.

Review business rates.
Green Party
Campaign for a public vote on the final terms of the Brexit deal, including an option to stay in the EU.

Protect freedom of movement, press for remaining within the single market, and safeguard vital rights for people and the environment.

Immediately guarantee the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK and urgently seek reciprocal arrangements for UK citizens in the EU.

Scottish National Party (SNP)

Demand that Scotland remains in the single market.

Protect the rights of EU nationals by calling for devolved immigration powers.

Demand an end to austerity and introduce a plan to repair public finances.

Fight to protect the Barnett formula as long as Scotland's budget continues to be determined by Westminster.

If the SNP wins a majority of Westminster seats in Scotland then there will be a “triple lock” for another referendum on independence following its victory at last year's Holyrood election and the Scottish Parliament vote for talks on getting powers for an independence vote.

Continue funding Creative Scotland and the nation’s five national performing companies
Committed to funding national collections, and providing free access to Scotland’s national galleries and museums. The SNP also wants to provide the support necessary for collections to tour Scotland.
Work with partners and stakeholders to encourage wider participation in culture.

Sinn Féin
Reform the EU
Award Northern Ireland designated special status within the EU, which would preserve access to the single market and customs union, freedom of movement and EU funding streams.  
A referendum vote on Irish unity within the next five years.

Plaid Cymru

Double the funding for Visit Wales and cut tourism VAT to put Wales ahead in the international tourism market.
Guarantee the rights of all Europeans currently living and working in Wales.
Secure the money promised to Wales by the Leave campaign.


Reduce net migration to zero over a five-year period.

Introduce Australian-style points system.

Brexit: no ‘divorce payment’; UK leaves the single market; end of freedom of movement; and allow EU citizens living in the UK before article 50 is triggered the right to stay indefinitely.

Democratic Unionist Party

Work to avoid direct rule and get local government back at  Stormont as quickly as possible.

Support the development of a new tourism strategy for Northern Ireland.  

Cut in the VAT rate for tourism businesses.

Introduce an immigration policy which meets the skills, labour and security needs of the UK.

Brexit: safeguard the rights of EU nationals; ability to opt-in to EU funds; and ensure that Northern Ireland gets fair share of dividends from leaving the EU.  

Ulster Unionists

Brexit: no hard border; invest in skills and infrastructure; maintain the common travel area; and provide assurance for organisations currently in receipt of EU funds.


The party states that the Good Friday agreement means that Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that can rejoin the EU without recourse to article 49 of the Lisbon Treaty; people are entitled by birth to be citizens of an EU member state post Brexit and are entitled to European citizenship; and the North South Ministerial Council enables Northern Ireland to be represented at EU meetings after Brexit.    

Reactions from the sector

Caroline Julian, the deputy head of policy and public affairs at the Creative Industries Federation, said: “The elephant in the room is, of course, Brexit. All political parties fail to recognise quite how are departure from the EU will impact on the workforce that underpins the success of our sector.
“Already, creative businesses are considering their departure to countries where the right talent and skills are readily available. For many, there are other places in the world that closely compete on provision of talent, so it won’t take much to dissuade businesses from uprooting from British soil. If an incoming government pursues a hard Brexit - or no deal at all - is it really prepared to lose the things that Britain is great at?

“Once the election is over, and whatever the shape and stripe of the incoming government, we will work tirelessly to keep policymakers to account. Brexit was not the sector’s choice. We will lodge firmly in politicians’ minds, and help translate into practice, what is needed to protect and advance the success of Britain’s creative industries as we leave the EU.”

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