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Harriet Harman will lead an Opposition Day debate on the importance of the arts and creative industries in the House of Commons on Wednesday, 19 June.

It will be the first major debate in the House of Commons on the arts and creative industries in over 5 years.

The debate follows an Early Day Motion which has already been signed by 57 MPs from all sides of the House, which calls on the Government to recognise the importance of the arts to individuals, communities and the economy, and take forward a strategy for the arts and creative industries.

Harriet Harman MP, Labour’s Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, speaking before the debate, said:

“The arts are central to the lives of individuals and communities across the country, to their sense of identity and sense of place and to their ability to achieve their human potential.

“And they are crucial to the national and to local economies. Our creative industries are world leaders, creating jobs, attracting tourism and bringing money to all parts London.

“The successes we now celebrate in the arts are the result of many years of public support, through funding and public policy. But this Government is threatening the future of our arts and creative industries through slashing the Arts Council, crushing the ability of local government to support culture locally and side-lining creative education.

“In these difficult times, Labour is exploring innovative ways to support the arts. But this debate gives us the opportunity to talk about their importance, to jobs and growth and to our national life.”

David Lan, Artistic Director of the Young Vic Theatre, and Chair of leading arts organisation ‘What Next?’, said:

“'The arts and culture are not just what you do between work and sleep, or at the weekend – though they are that too.  They are everything that makes us see the world and live in it in the way we do – our distinctiveness, our values, the ways we find to be together, as well as of being apart.  

“Theatres and galleries and TV and cinemas and gigs are just the tip of the mountain.  

“Art and culture are amongst the most powerful ways we have of becoming fully ourselves.  If we don't cherish and nurture them, we diminish ourselves in ways we will quickly lose the means to understand.”

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