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Calls for a Freelance Commissioner and Cultural Touring Agreement are among the proposals outlined in the manifesto, which covers skills and education, freelancing, investment, innovation, intellectual property and global power.



Creative UK has published its manifesto for the cultural and creative industries ahead of the forthcoming general election.

Entitled Our Creative Future, the manifesto covers six areas - the future of creative education and skills, freelancing, funding and investment models, intellectual property and future trade deals - and proposes key priorities in each area which the organisation says, if adopted by the next UK government, could “instigate revolutionary change for both the sector and the country”.

It lists six priorities, including growing tomorrow’s workforce by prioritising creative skills and education, helping creative freelancers’ to build more sustainable careers and returning the arts share of National Lottery funds to 25% alongside further fiscal reliefs and incentives.


Increasing investment in research and development funding, protecting intellectual property in the age of artificial intelligence and supporting trade and exports to strengthen the UK’s standing on the world stage round out the six priorities.

Caroline Norbury, Creative UK’s Chief Executive, says the UK’s cultural and creative industries are facing a decisive moment.

“The sector is driving real growth for the economy, while creating jobs and meaningful work at an extraordinary pace. However, creatives are also struggling with issues such as widespread cuts to creative education, reducing levels of funding and financial models that are long longer fit for purpose, as well as difficult trading conditions,” she said.

“How we act today will lay the foundations for tomorrow’s successes.”

Targeted aims

The manifesto recommends a series of tangible goals across each of the six areas.

To meet a target of an additional one million jobs in the cultural and creative industries by 2030, the manifesto calls for curriculum review, including reprioritising creative subjects and increasing funding for creative programs. It also says the number of industry-led apprenticeships and Skills Bootcamps should be increased and the Apprenticeship Levy must be accessible and affordable.

In support of creative freelancers, the manifesto calls for a Freelance Commissioner to be established, alongside a review of ministerial responsibilities for the self-employed. It also says improved security for freelancers through measures such as linking tax accounts to a hybrid pension saving scheme with an opt out option should be looked into.

Creative UK proposes establishing a Creativity Bank as an approach to sustainable finance and a way of attracting private and philanthropic investment. It says the bank would be a “wholesale facility” offering access to money, knowledge, tools and resources from government, private capital, regional and local authorities and sector experts.

To support innovation, the manifesto says government should double public research and development investment in the cultural and creative industries through a national programme that also makes small amounts of proof of concept and seed-corn funding available. It also says research and development tax credits should be broadened to include arts, humanities and social sciences research.

Creative UK calls on the UK government to “set the standard for the rest of the world” regarding intellectual property, stating the country’s gold-standard IP and copyright regime must be maintained and enforced. It adds explicit UK policy must be implemented around transparency, consent, recognition and remuneration as creative works are used and reproduced by AI developers.

And to continue the sectors’ international impact, the manifesto calls for a Cultural Touring Agreement with the EU that features a reciprocal freedom of movement agreement for all creatives whose work requires short-term travel within the EU. 

The final section of the manifesto also says government must ensure all bilateral trade agreements with other countries protect intellectual property rights, proposes increased support to the British Council and calls for rejoining Erasmus, the Culture and Media strands of Creative Europe and the Eurimages scheme of the Council of Europe.

Organisations including Royal College of Art, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, BECTU, Royal Shakespeare Company, The Advertising Association, the National Theatre, Ubisoft and BPI all feature in the manifesto, voicing support for individual areas.