Political Parties Embrace UK Music’s Key Manifesto Proposals

UK Music’s Policy and Campaigns Officer Douglas Brown analyses the political parties' manifestos to see how they are promising to support music.  

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26.06.2024: UK Music’s Policy and Campaigns Officer Douglas Brown analyses the political parties’ manifestos to see how they are promising to support music.  

In 2023, in anticipation of a General Election the next year, UK Music launched its Manifesto for Music, which set out a range of evidence-based policies, developed by UK Music members and stakeholders across the sector. 

Following the General Election announcement the major UK political parties released their manifestos. It has been promising to see the impact the publication our Manifesto for Music has had on these manifestos, with several key policies being reflected by all the political parties. These include:  

EU Touring: In UK Music’s Manifesto for Music we called for a Cultural Touring Agreement with the EU, which would solve issues of complicated red tape for artists looking to tour in the EU. The Liberal Democrats, Labour and Greens are all promising to remove the barriers that are making it difficult for British musicians to tour Europe. Both the Liberal Democrats and Greens call see solutions such as visa-free travel for touring musicians as a stopgap. Labour, meanwhile, are clear they will not re-join the EU, but work to “improve the UK’s trade and investment relationship with the EU”– as demonstrated by their commitment to negotiate some agreement to aid touring musicians. 

Protections against artificial intelligence: The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Greens were all clear in their manifestos about the need to protect creators in the context of advancing AI. The Conservatives outlined that they will make sure “creators are properly protected and remunerated for their work, whilst also making the most of the opportunities of AI”, echoing UK Music’s call to “encourage responsible AI”.  

Education and Skills: Improving arts education is a feature of all the major party manifestos, with differing approaches to their headline policies. The Conservatives want to support more creative apprenticeships, which was a call in our manifesto. The Liberal Democrats have called for arts subjects to be included in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), which while didn’t make it into our manifesto is something we’ve called for in the past. Our manifesto also called for 1,000 new music teachers. Labour has committed to hiring 6,000 new teachers and UK Music will campaign for a proportion of those to be music teachers. The SNP also outlined a renewed focus on teacher recruitment.  

Ticketing: UK Music’s manifesto called for the next government to “regulate against exploitative secondary ticketing practices.” It is promising to see both the Labour and Green parties endorse this with their commitments to introduce new consumer protections on ticket resale.  

Agent of Change: UK Music’s manifesto called on the next Government to “Put ‘agent of change’ protections in primary legislation to protect venues threatened with closure. Following on from the main manifesto, the Conservatives announced their night-time industry strategy. As part of this they are promising to strengthen the agent of change principle. This is to ensure, with regards to resident complaints around issues like noise, “they properly consider the established use of an area with pubs, bars and clubs”.  

We will continue to lobby the next government, whatever its complexion, to ensure that they deliver on our key policies asks and make the UK the best place to create, perform and consume music. 

Read UK Music’ Manifesto for Music here

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