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December/January 2015 Policy Brief

A tightly packed brief for the end of last year and the beginning of this one

The economy:

Education and skills:

New in arts, culture and the creative industries:

Economic estimates
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published its 2015 Economic Estimates for the Creative Industries. The estimates detail employment and the economic contribution of the UK’s thriving creative industries.

The craft figures are lower than last year’s figure and are, in DCMS’ own words, “a significant under-estimate of the scale of the true Crafts industry.” The Crafts Council’s own estimates of £3.4bn, set out in our 2014 report Measuring the Craft Economy, include more categories of craft, as well as micro-businesses and ‘embedded’ craft skills – those used beyond the creative industries – which DCMS plans to include in the future. See more here on our website.

Research compiled for the University of Falmouth projects the creative industries GVA will grow by 7% annually and reach more than £100bn by 2018. It expects employment to grow 3.1% each year over the same period, meaning the creation of 150,000 new jobs.

The creative and cultural industries across the whole EU have shown exceptional resilience to the economic crisis and are well-placed to grow further according to a new report Creating Growth: Measuring Cultural and Creative Markets in the EU. Revenues of €535.9b (or 4.2% of Europe’s GDP) were generated in 2012.

Autumn Statement
The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement included the announcement of match-funded bursaries of up to £10,000 for post-graduate students in 2015-16, followed by loans; employer National Insurance Contributions to be abolished for apprentices under 25 years old; an increase in the R&D tax credit for small and medium companies to 230%; and £20m to improve careers advice.

Long term Government strategy for science and business.
The Government unveiled a new long term strategy to make the UK the best place in the world for science and business. It includes nurturing talent, supporting research and catalysing innovation.

New careers and enterprise company
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced a new careers and enterprise company for schools. It is to provide advice to schools and colleges, helping them choose effective careers organisations to partner with, through a local network of advisors, and helping to improve links between schools and colleges and employers.

Nesta recommendations for the creative economy
Nesta has three policy recommendations (on STEM/STEAM, creative clusters, and making arts funding go further) to help the UK’s creative economy grow further. Included is an interactive map of the density of the UK creative economy.

Better support for self-employment and business starts-ups
The RSA’s new report Everyday Employers looks at how behavioural insights could be used to stimulate growth among the self-employed. Government data shows that the number of microbusinesses has grown by close to a million since 2008. Yet the vast majority of this increase (95 per cent) has been driven by non-employing firms. While it is not feasible for every business owner to take on staff, the message of this report is that it is time to create a business support system built around how business owners actually behave, rather than how we think they should behave.

Recommendations in the Scale-up report on business start-ups chime with those in the Crafts Council manifesto in relation to increasing support for entrepreneurship and improved collaboration to support start-ups.

IPPR’s Self-employment in Europe report looks at the challenges of self-employment in a climate of low pay and financial insecurity, noting that there are a higher number of self-employed workers in particular industries, including craft.

The New Economy of Art
DACS and Artquest have published The New Economy of Art, a collection of new writings on value, patronage and emerging business models in contemporary visual art, with contributions from experts across the art world.

Global art market grows by 20%
ArtLyst reports that the global art market has grown by 20% in 2014, with revenues exceeding $15.4bn.

House of Lords debates and questions
The Earl of Clancarty’s motion “that this House takes note of the case for arts education in schools” was debated in the House of Lords on 27 November 2014. The Earl talked about the negative impact of the schools performance framework on arts education and the decline in arts teaching hours. Drawing on Crafts Council research, Baroness Nye said, “Craft skills generate over £3 billion for the UK economy and it is exceptionally worrying that GCSE craft courses have fallen by a quarter and higher education courses by a half.”

On 19 January the Earl of Clancarty initiated another debate “to ask the government what support is given to individual artists, including visual artists, writers and composers?”  Debate focused on arts funding and the wider benefits to society of artists’ work.

On 20 January Baroness Kidron asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to ensure that arts subjects have equal weighting in the new Progress 8 schools performance measure. She expressed concern that the formal place of arts subjects in schools had been downgraded. Lord Nash said that the current indicator captures only five subjects whereas Progress 8 will capture eight subjects. He suggested this would leave more space for arts subjects.

How can the arts ensure it continues to push creative boundaries?
Alex Poots, Ruth Mackenzie and Ian Livingstone write in The Guardian on why supporting artists and evolving the curriculum is key for the long-term sustainability of the sector.

GCSEs, AS and A levels: new subjects to be taught in 2015
The Government has published the outcomes from its consultation on completing reforms of these qualifications. The existing content of AS and A levels in applied art and design (and a small number of other subjects) overlaps too much with new qualifications to be taught from September 2015 and the Government will therefore withdraw these subjects as they are being replaced.

The Government has also published the final subject content and assessment objectives for GCSE in art and design for teaching from 2016.

Reforms to GCSE in design & technology are delayed
Following consultation on reforms to GCSEs and A levels, the introduction of the new GCSE in design & technology will be postponed from 2016 to 2017. The Government has decided more time is needed undertake further consultations and discussions with stakeholders. See the Crafts Council’s response to the consultation.

Apprenticeship funding reform
The Government has published its response to consultation on payment mechanisms and funding principles for apprenticeship funding reform in England. Under the trial model, the Government pays £2 for every £1 the employer invests in their apprentice’s training but, in response to concerns, BIS will do further design work before taking a decision on the funding mechanism.

New guidance on vocational qualifications for 14- to 19-year-olds
New guidance sets out the list of non-GCSE qualifications that will count in the key stage 4 performance tables. This includes the first lists of tech levels and applied general qualifications for 16- to 19-year-olds and covers Certificates in Creative Studies in craft, in art & design and in graphic design.

Lists of technical and vocational qualifications approved for teaching from September 2015 and to be reported in 2017 performance tables have also been published.

New Arts Council England research programme
The Arts Council has launched its new Research Grants Programme, which aims to provide opportunities for the arts sector to engage in collaborative research. The Crafts Council is working with partners to submit a bid.

Arts Council Chair signals 'fundamental shift' in approach to diversity and the Creative Case
Arts Council England has launched a new approach to diversity, placing responsibility on every funded organisation to make their programme of work more reflective of the communities they serve. The Creative Case for Diversity presents the creative potential of diversity and equality as an opportunity to enrich the arts for artists, audiences and our wider society.

New Arts Council England Chief Executive
The Arts Council announced the appointment of Darren Henley as its new Chief Executive. Henley is the author of two defining Government reviews into music and cultural education.

Creative Industries Federation
The Creative Industries Federation was launched in late November to enable the sector to speak with a strong, independent voice, bringing together the UK's public arts, creative industries and cultural education.

Taking Part 2014/15 quarter 2
DCMS’ Taking Part data shows that 77 per cent of adults attended or took part in the arts in the year from September 2013, a similar rate to 2005/06 and a statistically significant decrease since 2012/13 (78%). Engagement in the North West and Yorkshire and The Humber has increased (from 72% to 76%).

Digital Culture 2014
The digital R&D Fund for the Arts has launched the second report in its three-year study of how arts and cultural organisations in England use technology. One of the key trends is the growing importance of digital technology for arts and culture business models.

New Year’s Honours List
Congratulations to:

  • David Verey - Chair, The Art Fund - Knighthood
  • Jason Holt - CBE
  • Jude Kelly - CBE
  • John Newbiggin, CBE
  • Hasan Bakhshi - MBE
  • Hector Cole, Master Arrowsmith, services to heritage crafts - MBE
  • Paul Cummins, ceramist - MBE
  • Countess de Salis, Chair Embroidery Trust - MBE
  • Lydia Helena Cardozo, Cardozo Kindersley letter-cutting - MBE