Last Thursday there was this debate in the House of Lords under the heading of Arts and Creative Industries Strategy that involved a number of people including my friend Steve Bassam who was at one stage the leader of the Brighton and Hove City. He raised a lot of themes including the financial requirements and the extent to which the Government needs to promote Councils. Also during his debate he included the following comment in terms of our local setting which is nice to report from.
We will of course have a more detailed debate on that next week but, today, my noble friend Lord Chandos made a very powerful case for ENO and opera, and rightly so. I could make an equal argument for better and stronger support for Glyndebourne, my local opera house, set wonderfully as it is in the Sussex Downs
But at the beginning of his statement he mentioned
I join in the general congratulations to my noble friend Lord Chandos on securing this important debate, which, as a number of Members have noted today, is extremely timely, given that, as the noble Baroness, Lady Featherstone, has just made clear, we are at something of a crossroads in government policy.
And so I then read the text from Lynne Featherstone and one of her focus points was
Judging by the actions, not words, of this Government, the opposite is sadly true, as evidenced by a long list: 13 Secretaries of State in DCMS in as many years; the lack of cross-departmental working; the omission of arts in the EBacc; the reduction of university creative courses; the lack of protection for our creatives in negotiating Brexit; the focus on STEM not STEAM; the omission of the creative sector as one of the five priorities for growth in the Autumn Statement; the alleged interference by the Government in Arts Council funding; the delayed sector vision; and the lack of a strategy, which this debate rightly calls for.
I do recall because of my involvement in STEM over a number of years that STEAM has on occasions arisen. However clearly the Art aspect of education and industry is clearly a theme that does need support along with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It would be fantastic if we could assist this for our Nation.