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UK creative industry welcomes Labour’s election victory after years of turmoil

Sir Keir Starmer, the UK’s new prime minister

The UK creative industry has welcomed the Labour Party’s landslide victory in yesterday’s general election, with execs voicing hope the new government will support the BBC after years of using the public service broadcaster as a “political football.”

Sir Keir Starmer will be ushered in as the UK’s new prime minister this lunchtime after his party brought an end to 14 years in opposition and condemned the Conservative Party to their worst ever election result.

Bectu, the UK’s film and TV union, also welcomed the general election result, with head of Bectu Philippa Childs saying the Labour Party “recognises the huge contribution the creative industries make towards the economy and appreciates that they are a key sector for the future.

“After seemingly endless political shrill surrounding the BBC, we’re pleased to have a party in power that won’t use our world-class public service broadcaster as a political football. It’s essential that Labour understands the key role the BBC plays in the delicate ecosystem of the creative industries, and its importance as an incubator of skills and talent,” Childs added.

Caroline Norbury, chief executive of Creative UK, the national membership body for the country’s cultural and creative industries, said the change in leadership marks “an opportunity to maximise our growth and resilience” at a hugely challenging time.

“It’s fitting that Sir Keir Starmer stood within the Tate Modern to share early reflections. This signal that a new UK government will place the cultural and creative industries at the heart of industrial strategy is, perhaps, also a sign of hope that the creative sector is finally also being understood as a public good,” said Norbury.

“What we need now is to put policy into practice. The prioritisation of a transformative curriculum which values creativity and develops our capability. Bold approaches to funding and finance through patient capital, with the Treasury focused properly on growth. Investment in regions and communities, in order to really help creative organisations thrive. For our sector to top the list of public investment priorities, reflecting its size, contribution and potential.

“For Creative UK, now’s the time to really roll up our sleeves and ensure that this new UK Government delivers the best in these areas and more. We’re committed to working with all elected representatives to champion the creative economy, so that our future is bright,” added Norbury.

Creative UK launched a manifesto in April ahead of the general election calling for “radical new action” across the country’s cultural and creative industries.

Meanwhile, James Burstall, CEO at UK-based production and distribution group Argonon, expressed his hope for strong and sustainable support for the creative sector.

“Congratulations to Keir Starmer and his new government, we wish them every success. I have met some of the incoming ministers over the last 18 months and I am encouraged and hopeful that we will see strong, sustainable and much-needed support for our sector in the coming months and years. It’s urgently needed,” said Burstall.

“Since the beginning of 2023, our world class creative sector has endured – and continues to battle against – a perfect storm of tough economic headwinds, fracturing business models and declining audiences, with huge knock-on effects for our world class production base as well as our talented freelancers at all levels. These are the immediate challenges we’re facing today.”

Burstall added: “Labour has previously outlined the cultural, commercial and societal importance of the creative industries, with a commitment to set the conditions to drive growth and support the workforce, and an ambition to work constructively to ensure the BBC and other creative institutions can invest in content.

“As an identified priority sector, we welcome early engagement with the DCMS and wider government to tackle both these pressing challenges – as well as the longer-term needs such as skills training, creative and production incentives and protecting IP for creators – to ensure the future success and sustainability of our industry.”

The UK will soon have a new culture secretary after Labour’s win at the polls, however who will fill the cabinet position is uncertain after the shadow culture secretary lost her seat in parliament last night.

Starmer had been expected to name the shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport, Thangam Debbonaire, in the role when he announces his first cabinet.

However, Debbonaire lost her seat in parliament last night to Carla Denyer, co-leader of the UK’s Green Party, in the constituency of Bristol West, leading to speculation MPs such as Ellie Reeves or Sir Chris Bryant could be in line for the role.

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