DCMS reshuffle seen to “downgrade” creativity

The Creative Industries Federation has spoken out about structural changes within the Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which now sees a greater focus on digital, while arts and culture are bundled in with heritage and tourism.

The Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has been reshuffled, in a move which has been described as “downgrading the importance of the arts”.

The new team sees MP Matt Hancock’s role changed from Minister of State for Digital and Culture changed to Minister of State for Digital, removing arts and culture from his remit.

While he continues to cover the creative industries, he now focuses more heavily on digital, including areas such as the digital economy, skills and inclusion, technology, internet governance and online safety.

Arts, Heritage and Tourism

Arts and culture has instead been placed within the same remit as Heritage and Tourism, under MP John Glen.

On the reshuffle, a spokesperson at the Creative Industries Federation says: “The new ministerial titles and job descriptions at DCMS appear to downgrade the importance of the arts and creative industries, and send a wrong signal about their importance.

“The creative industries are the fastest growing sector of the economy. The sector is generating jobs at three times the rate of employment in general.”

“No distinction” between public and commercial arts

The Federation has disparaged the separation of arts and culture from the creative industries in the reshuffle, and says that the “success” of the British creative sector is based on both commercial and public work being treated equally.

“In terms of Britain’s global renown in the creative sector, there is no distinction between the publicly-supported arts and commercial business,” the spokesperson says.

They add: “Policy-making should recognise that. Billions of pounds of revenue and our international success is built on both.”

The comments come after the Federation recently urged the Government to rethink Brexit and apply softer terms following the surprise election result, and after it laid out a 10-point list of demands asking political parties to consider the creative industries in their manifestos.

The Design Council has also commented on the reshuffle, and is hopeful that the team change will not impact on the creative industries.

DCMS says creative industries “hugely important” to UK

Sarah Weir, CEO at Design Council, says: “In our interactions with Government, design and the creative industries continue to be a priority issue. We hope this change does not affect the importance and priority that the Government attaches, at this crucial time, to supporting the continued growth of the creative industries, including design.”

Weir adds that the organisation is currently working with partners in the creative industries on “sector deal proposals”, which will be submitted to Government for consideration.

A DCMS spokesperson says: “The creative industries and the arts are hugely important to the UK, both economically and as an integral part of British culture.

“The Government is completely committed to doing all it can to support these sectors and they will continue to be strongly represented by Creative Industries Minister Matt Hancock, the new Arts Minister John Glen, and at Cabinet by Culture Secretary Karen Bradley.”

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