Members of the Lords debated the importance of culture and arts to the economy, yesterday (Thursday 13 June).
Baroness Wheatcroft (Conservative), who requested the debate, opened by paying tribute to the UK's 'amazing and bountiful supply of arts and culture' and outlined their economic contribution: 'They create jobs, provide training... and the innovations they make often transfer into industry and export for the service sector.'
Lord Puttnam (Labour), focused on arts funding and the need for sustained investment in skills, warning 'we will all too quickly become unfit for purpose in a digital world that is changing with quite ferocious speed.' He put forward the suggestion that a consumption tax on online gambling could 'be used to supplement the nation's investment in arts, sport and culture.'
Lord Grade of Yarmouth (Conservative), highlighted how arts and culture promote social mobility, particularly how so many successful figures 'came from such humble origins and found a way to success through the arts, not necessarily through education.'
Baroness Sharp of Guildford (Liberal Democrat), identified conservation as a key concern, stressing that it 'helps to preserve more than just memories and artefacts.' She concluded: 'It is therefore important that we value these things not just because they contribute to the economy, but because our children, and their children and their children's children should also be able to enjoy them.'
Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Conservative), contributed on behalf of the government. He welcomed the debate, insisting that, 'on the fundamentals, I believe that we are all united.'
Image: Press Association, Liverpool Tate Gallery