Melvyn Bragg leads Lords debate on the arts

The Government said they "agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments" put forward by Lord Bragg, acknowledging that the arts "remain an integral part of our national life" and are "an essential part of what makes life worth living".

Melvyn Bragg has issued a rallying cry for the arts.

His speech in the House of Lords, launching a debate on the contribution of the arts to our economy and society, has already been viewed over a million times.1

Lord Bragg argued that the arts are “the opportunity this society needs to reform itself, to replenish all parts and pockets”. He expressed concern about local authority budget cuts and widening inequality in arts education, saying “enormous rewards could follow from building up the arts”.

Responding for the Government, Arts and Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson said that ministers “agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments Lord Bragg put forward”. He acknowledged that the arts “remain an integral part of our national life” and are “an essential part of what makes life worth living”.

Lord Parkinson paid tribute to the Campaign for the Arts for keeping “all of us on our toes” at a time when arts funding and provision are at risk in many parts of the country. It comes just weeks after Scottish Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary said: “the Government have clearly been feeling the heat on this, thanks to the work of the Campaign for the Arts”.2

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  1. Campaign for the Arts on Twitter/X[]
  2. Campaign for the Arts featured in key Scottish Parliament culture debate[]
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6 responses to “Melvyn Bragg leads Lords debate on the arts”

  1. David Cross says:

    Well done Melvyn.

    Schools need more funding and the regions need supporting.

    A few paltry million do not begin to fill the chasms created in arts organisations, especially those damaged or closed under the Tories.

    It is a disgrace that so many young people cannot learn a musical instrument and that Maths and English are over prioritised by ministers who have not taken the trouble to consult the teachers who understand their schools. Choirs bring balm. Drama offers huge stimulus. Dance would reduce the epidemic of obesity. Art can improve manual dexterity and intellectual development. All the arts can all contribute to GDP, if each generation is given the needful skills.

    We pride ourselves upon the achievements of Shakespeare, Turner, Keats, Britten and their peers in each generation but we will have far fewer creative successes in the future if we do not nourish the present youngsters.

  2. Alison Hunt says:

    I agree with Melvyn Bragg that the arts are essential for every aspect of a healthy society. It is folly to undermine the arts

  3. Helen Jordan says:

    Well done Melvyn Bragg. Your presentation should be heard by all the Government. What they have allowed to happen to the arts in this country is a disgrace. An already overcrowded curriculum is an excuse. Sheku Kanneh Mason and his family are a wonderful example of the benefit of music education in schools. We have such a wonderful cultural heritage in this country and should give all children an opportunity to discover their talents. It should not only be available to children in private schools. But let’s not take Eton as an example!

  4. cas holmes says:

    We are the cake indeed, as Mr Bragg states

    We creatives are incredibly resilient, we can do so much with so little and that small Arts budget may keep the heart and culture of country ticking along until new possibilities arise as our economy improves

    I urge Councils in their need to cut spending which is understandable in the present climate, to find a way of salvaging some of the Council Arts Budget within cuts. As Mr. Churchill in 1938 uttered the following:

    “The arts are essen­tial to any com­plete national life. The State owes it to itself to sus­tain and encour­age them….Ill fares the race which fails to salute the arts with the rev­er­ence and delight which are their due.”

    I feel qualified to add my voice. I have worked on projects as an artist for over 40 years both in a paid and voluntary capacity. I have seen the benefit participation and accessibility brings to those members of our community often not often well served in terms of cultural and learning opportunities. Art looks towards our soul, the health service our bodies.

  5. Tim Pearce says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with Bragg. Government? Philistines! Too many areas of life are available only to the rich because this government has made so many cuts. The arts, the NHS, schools, transport have all suffered.

  6. Angela McDaid says:

    You cannot call yourself a civilised country if you don’t support the arts.

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