Received from: AUE
The pandemic has exposed the fragile nature of the arts and culture sector in Britain, with a disproportionate impact on already disadvantaged groups, and, crucially, the significant sums made available by the government to “rescue” the sector from collapse do not address its underlying structural problems.
These include a steep fall in public and business investment in the arts since 2008, and the fact that the sector’s workforce is overwhelmingly freelance, with many ineligible for recent government schemes to assist the self-employed.
Yet, before lockdown, the UK’s creative sector was growing at five times the rate of the wider economy and in 2018 contributed £111.7bn to the exchequer – more than the automobile, aerospace, oil and gas industries combined. This, in spite of the UK consistently spending less on its cultural life than our European neighbours.
We welcome steps taken by unions and campaigners in the sector to address these issues, including the publication of “Making Culture Ours”, “Performance for All” and other initiatives.
Congress calls on the General Council to support the main campaign aims of these, to:
i. expand investment in arts and culture for the wellbeing of all – including increasing cultural funding from 0.6 per cent of GDP to at least the European average level of 1 per cent
ii. ensure that public funding for arts and culture meets minimum agreed standards of pay and employment
iii. promote the role of creative arts education in society
iv. ensure an equitable and non-discriminatory balance and distribution of funding
v. promote democratic accountability across the creative and cultural sector.
Artists’ Union England