Spending Review should have focused more on creative sector, Sunak told

The Chancellor’s Spending Review should have included more support for the creative industries, an entertainment and media union boss has said.

Philippa Childs, head of Bectu, said the sector “provided a much-needed bright spot during the last recession” and its “highly-skilled” workers should be given greater support.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak spoke about the economic devastation caused by coronavirus as he delivered his Spending Review, which focused in part on the Government’s plans to boost the local economies of areas outside London and the south-east.

Spending Review
Spending Review

Mr Sunak also said £280 billion was being spent on the coronavirus response this year.

Ms Childs criticised Mr Sunak for the continued exclusion of some freelance workers from coronavirus support schemes.

“The success and hard work of creatives during the good times has been rewarded with a support scheme that many cannot access during the bad times,” Ms Childs said.

Caroline Norbury, CEO of the Creative Industries Federation, said she welcomed the “Chancellor’s focus on levelling up and innovation”.

“Our sector plays an integral role in not only driving economic growth, but creating better, healthier and happier places, and we know from research that a targeted and tailored approach is what’s needed to ensure strong recovery in all parts of the UK.”

She added that “clarity” is needed on whether there will be any domestic replacement of EU funding schemes which arts organisations could previously apply for.


Theatres Trust director Jon Morgan said there should be more money set aside for theatres as part of the Government’s efforts in “levelling up” the economy.

“Theatres can play a crucial role in the Build Back Better agenda as vital creative and community hubs, and as major contributors to local economies, in particular reviving beleaguered high streets,” he said.

“These projects would provide new community facilities with improved access and environmental performance, and would benefit from timely Government investment, ensuring these assets continue to be fit for purpose in the 21st century and provide a much-needed boost to local communities.”

Mark Davyd, chief executive officer of the Music Venue Trust, welcomed the Government’s levelling-up agenda.

“There is a significant opportunity to invest in resilience and improvements to our grassroots music sector and we look forward to working with Government to prioritise these opportunities to build back better,” he said.