Brighton’s Great Escape Hears UK Music’s Manifesto

Much-needed measures to protect the industry aired at annual event, with major parties outlining their protections for the sector

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Tom Kiehl, director of government and public affairs at UK Music, outlined the five pillars – international action, regional development, intellectual property, skills and education and finance and investment – that must be tackled in the next Parliament to maintain growth in the sector.

The event was staged in Founders Hall, Brighton Dome, and was held in partnership with the Music Venue Trust. Bev Whitrick, strategic director of the MVT, also presented their manifesto for 2017 which sought three commitments to support the UK’s Grassroot Music Venues – the reform of cultural funding, action to increase and reward private investment and the reduction of red-tape and costs.

A panel discussion was chaired by Phil Nelson, the industry liaison and music cities ambassador at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM) with representatives of leading political parties.

Labour DCMS spokesperson Baroness Maggie Jones of Whitchurch set out her party’s manifesto commitments to support music in schools, introduce a cultural capital fund and introduce business rate relief and an agent of change principle to support struggling music venues.

Brighton and Hove councillor Joe Miller, representing the Conservatives, highlighted the important work of the current Government in supporting the creative industries via its industrial strategy and recent positive amendments to the Digital Economy Act.

Lib Dem culture spokesman Lord Tim Clement-Jones set out the pledges contained in the party’s manifesto to establish creative enterprise zones. He also supported freedom of movement across the European Union, the loss of which he felt would be severely felt by the creative industries.

Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the Green Party, expressed concern about the impact on younger generations of venue closures and the need to ensure decisions to support the creative community are taken at a local level.

Further topics discussed in the panel session included concerns about cultural exceptions in future trade deals, the loss of international lobbying power through leaving the EU, the impact of local government cuts on arts and culture, access to music in rural communities, the EBacc, the need to protect IP during Brexit and the need to addressing the value gap between producers of content and digital services.

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