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Conservative Party promises to leverage the power of philanthropy for cultural institutions in an election manifesto light on firm policies for the arts.

Rishi Sunak launching the Conservative general election manifesto
The Conservatives have said they want to protect cultural institutions across the country

The Conservatives will support the creative industries and seek to secure funding for cultural institutions through philanthropy, the party's election manifesto has said.

Published today (11 June), the manifesto contains few solid policy proposals for the arts and culture sector but does feature commitments to "support" the creative industries, museums, and libraries.

The manifesto states, "The Conservative Party will always protect our national heritage—including statues, monuments, and memorials."


"We will keep our ‘retain and explain’ guidance under review to ensure it supports custodians in the preservation of our national history and heritage. 

"We will continue to support museums and libraries across the country."

The manifesto sets out an intention to grow philanthropic giving - following comments made by Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer earlier this year that a collective attitude shift towards philanthropy is needed to boost funding for the arts.

"Government has the power to leverage philanthropy for good causes and cultural institutions," the manifesto states.

"We will work with individuals, businesses, charities and other networks to find opportunities to unleash this even further."

It adds that a review of Gift Aid will be completed "within the next parliament".   

In terms of the creative industries, the manifesto says the Conservatives would "ensure our creative sector tax incentives remain competitive". 

"The UK is now the second most popular place in the world to make films and high-end TV," it states. 

"That’s a direct result of Conservatives taking action: there have been one million new jobs since 2010, and the economic value of the creative industries has doubled. 

"We provided an unprecedented £1.57bn support package during Covid. We will ensure creators are properly protected and remunerated for their work whilst also making the most of the opportunities of AI and its applications for creativity in the future."

Funding curbs

Speaking at the manifesto's launch, Sunak also confirmed the inclusion of previously announced controversial plans to remove funding for degrees with the "worst outcomes" despite concerns it could impact arts subjects.

"We Conservatives want to spread opportunity across the whole of our United Kingdom. We don't want you to leave the place that you call home to succeed, and ultimately, that is a test of levelling up. 

"So we will give our young people the skills and opportunities they need to succeed in today's world. We won't cling to outdated ideas, such as the belief that the only route to success is through university. 

"So we will curb funding to rip off degrees and use it to fund 100,000 new high-quality apprenticeships."

Labour, which leads the Conservatives in current opinion polls, will publish its manifesto later this week.