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Are you voting for craft?

by Camilla

Tomorrow the UK votes for a new government. But what do the main political parties say about craft? How will they support and protect our creative industries and the future of craft in education?

We’ve pulled out some of the main points from their manifestos concerning the arts, craft and culture and the place of creativity and craft skills in education to help outline their positions. 

The Conservatives:

  • The creative industries have become our fastest-growing economic sector, contributing nearly £77 billion to the UK economy – driven in part by the tax incentives for films, theatre, video games, animation and orchestras we introduced. We will continue these reliefs, with a tax credit for children’s television next year, and expand them when possible.
  • We have put over £8 billion of public and Lottery funding into the arts, heritage, museums and galleries during the last five years… [and] we have made sure that arts funding benefits the whole of the UK.
  • We will keep our major national museums and galleries free to enter and enable our cultural institutions to benefit from greater financial autonomy to use their budgets as they see fit.
  • We will require secondary school pupils to take GCSEs in English, maths, science, a language and history or geography, with Ofsted unable to award its highest ratings to schools that refuse to teach these core subjects.
  • We have increased the time schools will spend on maths. We aim to make Britain the best place in the world to study maths, science and engineering.


  • The arts should belong to all and be open to all to take part in.
  • We will guarantee a universal entitlement to a creative education so that every young person has access to cultural activity and the arts by strengthening creative education in schools and after-school clubs. Institutions that receive arts funding will be required to open up their doors to young people, and we will work with public bodies to rebalance arts funding across the country.
  • The last Labour Government made admission to our national museums and galleries free to all, leading to a major increase in the number of people experiencing our greatest cultural treasures. We reaffirm our commitment to universal free admission to ensure that our great works of art and national heritage can be enjoyed in all parts of the country.
  • Creativity is the powerhouse of a prosperous economy. It is the source of economic innovation and a powerful force in social renewal. We will increase the number of apprenticeships in the creative industries.
  • We will create a Prime Minister’s Committee on the Arts, Culture and Creative Industries, with a membership drawn from all sectors and regions. The Committee will bring issues of concern direct to the attention of the Prime Minister.
  • We will transform high performing Further Education colleges with strong links to industry, into new specialist Institutes of Technical Education, with a remit to deliver the Technical Baccalaureate and higher-level skills. With Labour, students will continue to study English and Maths to age 18 and undertake work experience between the ages of 14 and 16.

Liberal Democrats:

  • Arts, creative industries and culture are crucial to Britain’s success and essential for personal fulfilment and quality of life. The UK’s creative sector has been one of the great success stories of the past five years, and a critical driver of our recovery. We are proud of the arts in Britain and will support them properly, working to deliver access for all, regardless of income, ethnicity, gender, age, belief, sexuality or disability.
  • We believe the arts have an essential role in our education system and will work to encourage creativity in our schools and universities.
  • We will maintain free access to national museums and galleries, while giving these institutions greater autonomy.
  • We will support growth in the creative industries, including video gaming, by continuing to support the Creative Industries Council, promoting creative skills, supporting modern and flexible patent, copyright and licensing rules, and addressing the barriers to finance faced by small creative businesses.
  • We want the highest standards in our schools, and will ensure that every child has a thorough grasp of the basics. But we also understand that a great education is about more than just learning facts: creativity should be nurtured.
  • We will introduce a minimum curriculum entitlement – a slimmed down core national curriculum, which will be taught in all state-funded schools. We will complete the introduction of reformed GCSEs, while continuing to oppose Conservative plans for a return to the old O-level/CSE divide.  We will improve the quality of vocational education, including skills for entrepreneurship and self-employment, and improve careers advice in schools and colleges.

Green Party:

  • The future of the arts and the humanities has been endangered by a systematic denigration by the dominant political parties and university administrations alike, who create a perception of such courses as an expensive luxury without the vocational ‘use-value’ that renders them worth the financial risk. The Green Party believes that the arts and humanities have an essential part to play in creating a more democratic, sane and participatory society.
  • The Green Party would increase government arts funding by £500 million a year to restore the cuts made since 2010 and reinstate proper levels of funding for local authorities, helping to keep local museums, theatres, libraries and art galleries open
  • We would support initiatives to make the arts and sports accessible to all.
  • We would provide access to artistic and creative facilities for prisoners returned to the community.
  • The Green Party believes children are over-assessed and teachers are over-regulated. We need to free teachers and pupils to rediscover the excitement of learning, released from the shackles of a system designed with only economic competitiveness and preparation for work in mind. We support the abolition of SATS and league tables and the evaluation of schools by parents, teachers and the local community, not Ofsted, which we would abolish.
  • We support a broad, balanced and enriching curriculum, including creative and vocational areas, with a coherent 16–19 qualifications framework allowing a real choice of academic and vocational areas, or a mixture of them.


  • The SNP will use its influence at Westminster to deliver key economic advantages for Scotland. Our proposals include a £100 million investment in jobs in the creative sector with BBC Scotland receiving a fairer share of the licence fee.
  • Our approach to education is based on giving our young people the skills they need to flourish, now and in later life. The introduction of Curriculum for Excellence is a big part of this, but we are also working to improve the learning environment and to remove barriers to education for our youngest pupils and for those entering higher and further education.
  • We’ll deliver 30,000 Modern Apprenticeships each year and continue to keep university education free.

Plaid Cymru:

  • Plaid Cymru wants everybody in Wales to access our arts, media and culture. We want a vibrant and exciting scene, full of quality, innovation and originality.
  • We will increase access to the arts for young people, particularly those of disadvantaged backgrounds, through promotion of apprenticeships in media and the arts, and promote the arts to families to participate together.
  • A new National Curriculum will ensure that all children leave education with a positive understanding of the history of Wales and the cultures of their communities.
  • Schools will ensure that young people develop key skills, including literacy, numeracy, IT skills and thinking skills, and an understanding of climate change and the environment.
  • We will set the learning outcomes to be achieved by schools, ensuring the best possible English, Welsh and Mathematics GCSE results, but will allow schools themselves to determine how to achieve those outcomes.


  • UKIP celebrates Britain and will promote a unifying British culture. We will not condone the philosophy of multiculturalism because it has failed by emphasising separateness instead of unity.
  • UKIP will create a new Minister of State for Heritage and Tourism.
  • UKIP will bring back grammar schools and support a range of secondary schools including vocational, technical and specialist schools.
  • We will waive tuition fees for science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) subjects at university.



Whatever the outcome this week, the Crafts Council will write to the new government as soon as it is announced to ask Ministers to address these top three calls from its Education Manifesto:

  • For Ofsted to review the criteria for ‘outstanding’ schools to recognise teaching and learning in art, craft and design.
  • To reform school performance frameworks to remove the disincentives to studying crafts subjects.
  • For the HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) to review the funding for studio-based subjects in higher education.

You can read more about what you can do to support the Crafts Council’s manifesto and help secure the future of craft in this article by Folksy seller Gwin Kerry >>


(Featured image: Screen-printed Rosette by Lauren Feather)



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Ruth Petersen May 6, 2015 - 3:06 pm

Thank you for laying this out in such a clear way. This is very important for the country as there are so many of us out there trying to make a decent living from our craft. Not only is it important to help those of us already working but also to educate the children so they understand and appreciate art in the world no matter what they choose to do themselves.
So many aspects to consider before making my choice tomorrow!

Susan Wright May 6, 2015 - 6:42 pm

Whilst relatively new to Folksy, I am a great believer in them and love what they do in order to promote and support British craft. I think this is an excellent example of how good they are in offering a balanced view of the differing approaches the political parties have towards the creative industries. Well done Folksy, keep up the good work

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