Removing barriers that prevent pupils from studying the arts in schools is one of a limited range of pledges to support cultural activity.

Photo of Tim Farron in front of campaign bus
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, who launched the party's manifesto today

The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto for the June 2017 general election recognises the arts, media and sports as “essential for personal fulfilment and quality of life,” noting that they “are part of what turns a group of people into a community”.

But while pledging to “continue to invest in our cultural capital” and to “maintain free access to national museums and galleries,” it makes few new commitments to the sector. Sports and arts Lottery funding would be protected “via the National Lottery”.

Other measures in the manifesto, which was published today, include:

  • Setting up creative enterprise zones “to grow and regenerate the cultural output of areas across the UK”
  • Examining funding and planning rules for live music venues and the grassroots music sector, to protect venues from further closures.

The importance of a “truly rounded curriculum including the arts, sport and culture” is highlighted, and the manifesto states that the Lib Dems would “protect the availability of arts and creative subjects in the curriculum and act to remove barriers to pupils studying these subjects”.

There would also be “proper long-term planning of initial teacher training places… in order to recruit the highest-quality teachers in shortage areas such as science, technology, engineering, the arts and maths”.

The Creative Industries Federation (CIF) has welcomed the party’s commitment to protect the availability of arts and creative subjects in schools, and urged more details on how this will be achieved.

It has also welcomed the move to develop creative enterprise zones. This was a proposal put forward by the CIF and has also been adopted by the Labour party in its manifesto.

Liz Hill