Ed Miliband at Battersea Arts Centre by Ian Watts

Miliband pledges to prioritise access to arts

Patrick Steel, 24.02.2015
Labour would put creative education into Ofsted inspections
In a speech at the Battersea Arts Centre in London last night at an event organised by the Creative Industries Federation, the Labour leader Ed Miliband pledged to “put policy for arts and culture and creativity at the heart of the next Labour government’s mission”.

Under a Labour government, he said, there would be “a universal entitlement to a creative education” and schools would be required to “provide high quality creative subjects and cultural opportunities to all their pupils if they want to get an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating”.

His administration would also work with the arts council, he said, to increase the number of outreach programmes offering creative opportunities to young people.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) would be maintained, but there would be a “permanent change to the way that the arts and culture are represented in Westminster and Whitehall” with DCMS working with other departments.

Miliband would also oversee the establishment of a Prime Minister’s Committee on the arts, culture and creative industries.

The committee would be constituted with “leading figures from the arts and culture world”, and charged with bringing key issues of concern directly to the prime minister’s attention, bringing private and philanthropic sources of support “into a closer relationship with the public sector” and ensuring equality of access across the country.

Free admission to national museums and galleries would be maintained, but the Prime Minister’s Committee would look to “ensure that the works in the national collection currently in storage are able to travel to regional museums and galleries around the country”.

Arts, culture and creativity make “a major contribution to our economic success”, he said, but “if you believe in social justice, if you believe in a more equal society… then access to the arts and culture is not an optional extra – it is essential”.

His speech follows the publication this week of the Warwick Commission report, which found that the number of arts teachers in schools has fallen by 10% since 2010.

Labour said last month it would not reverse cuts to the arts budget.

Image: Ed Miliband at Battersea Arts Centre by Ian Watts


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