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TUC Yorkshire and the Humber has agreed its 2021 Cultural Manifesto for the region. Drawn up by the Regional TUC’s Creative and Leisure Industries Committee, the manifesto advocates increased public investment in the arts and decent pay and conditions for all who work in the cultural sector. The manifesto also includes policies on equality, the climate emergency, regional inequalities in arts funding, and Brexit.

Covid-19 has severely damaged the cultural sector and live performance in particular. The pandemic and the resulting restrictions have led to the manifesto’s policies becoming more relevant and necessary than ever.

The Manifesto as well as a large print version can be downloaded as a PDF at the bottom of this page.

TUC Yorkshire and the Humber seeks the endorsement of the following policies by local authorities, elected mayors and city regions and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). We also call on all candidates standing for election to public office to support these policies:

  • Defend and when possible increase local authority spending on libraries, arts, heritage and culture. We call on all local authorities to work towards the goal of investing at least 50p per resident per week in the sector. (
  • Maintain and regularly update a comprehensive arts, heritage and culture strategy for each local authority. Arts and culture must also be at the heart of regeneration.
  • Encourage good employment practices in arts, heritage and cultural organisations that receive public funding. Public funding must be contingent upon all client organisations becoming accredited Living Wage1 employers and formally recognising the appropriate trades unions, entering into collective bargaining in good faith, adhering to applicable trade union agreements, and fully complying with health and safety legislation.
  • To ensure that wherever possible local public investment in the arts is spent locally, benefits local workers and local communities and provides for local needs and wants.
  • Equality and education. Local authorities need to support the creative industries’ efforts to improve the diversity of the sector’s workforce. Education authorities need to support the training of the cultural workers of the future and, in the context of the English Baccalaureate, to recognise the importance of school students being able to study creative, artistic and technical subjects at GCSE and A Level. Curricula need to be decolonialised.
  • Lobby Central Government. The Government threatens public investment in the arts through cuts to local authority funding and the implementation of the English Baccalaureate. Local authorities need to continue lobbying central government for increased public investment in a thriving regional creative and leisure industries sector, and to protect and enhance arts education.

Regarding employment, the manifesto asserts that far too often, the creative and leisure industries are blighted by poor working conditions, pay levels less than government minima, harassment and bullying and even an expectation that professional arts practitioners should work without pay. Such practices need to be eradicated.

There is a new section on Public Service Broadcasting in the 2021 manifesto. Channel 4’s establishment of a national HQ in Leeds is welcomed and concerns about BBC funding in the light of substantial redundancies across the nations and regions are highlighted.

The manifesto supports a number of CLIC unions’ key policies and campaigns including Artists Union England’s Good Practice Charter, Equity’s Four Pillars for Recovery covering workforce protection, safe opening, protecting cultural infrastructure and equality, Musicians Union’s #FixStreaming campaign for an equitable, sustainable and transparent model for royalty distribution in the streaming era and NUJ’s News Recovery plan.

The manifesto identifies the continuation of free movement of workers, protection of intellectual property rights, safeguarding workers’ rights and the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and continued access to healthcare provision equivalent to the European Health Insurance Card as key issues for the creative and leisure industries arising from Brexit. Where Creative Industries funding from the EU is lost this must be replaced at equivalent levels by the UK government.

On the Climate Emergency the manifesto calls for support for the arts’ positive role in facing up to climate change and for the negative environmental impact of cultural activities to be minimised.

The manifesto highlights the disparity of DCMS and Arts Council England funding at £69 per head for Londoners and £4.58 per head for the rest of England and demands that this is redressed.

The manifesto also calls for all funding opportunities to be promoted to and accessible to grassroots organisations.

The following unions have been involved in the TUC YH Creative and Leisure Industries Committee:


Artists' Union England, BECTU Sector of Prospect, Equity, Musicians Union, NASUWT, National Union of Journalists, UNISON

In addition, the following unions support the cultural manifesto:



Editors note

1. Accredited Living Wage employers are those who have been certified by the Living Wage Foundation as paying at least the Living Wage Foundation’s Living Wage rates These are distinct from and higher than the Government’s so called living wage, which are statutory minimum wage rates for over 25s.


Gareth Forest
TUC Policy & Campaigns Officer

0113 200 1075

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