Position Statement: The Arts In Bath and NE Somerset

The creative urge in all of us builds businesses, upholds communities and enriches all our lives through the arts.

Nourishing that urge, and the small business owners, artists, students and professional pioneers that embody it, will build a better future for Bath and NE Somerset.

For other parties supporting creativity is afterthought – for us it is a priority. Creativity is key to building an economy that works for individual and communities, not just huge corporations.

Nationally the lives of creatives would be made much easier by our policies of a universal basic income and scrappng fees (and existing debt) for education. Our parliamentary representatives nationally and in BaNES continue to fight for this.

At a local level we are constrained by a government that is constantly devaluing the arts as somehow less ‘worthwhile’ than STEM education and employment. Despite this, The Green Party seeks to locally unleash the urge in all of us to be creative, to be innovative, to be brave by:

Widening access to education, for people of all ages

The Greens have consistently backed the right to free higher and further education for all. Locally we will work to restore access to lifelong learning by supporting mature students and their families and restore local adult education programmes

Delivering genuine localism

Genuine localism, devolving well-funded powers to communities, allows the people most affected by local decisions to shape those decisions. We will give fuller voice to local identities, creating distinct communities in Bath and more rural areas of NE Somerset and listening to how they want the arts supported - what works in one part of BaNES might not be the best fit everywhere, and everyone should have access to the arts. Our kind of localism is about trusting people and sharing power – we don’t agree with the Conservatives that it’s a way to wash your hands of the impact of spending cuts, nor do we agree with Labour that a bigger, more centralised system is the solution to everything.

Giving small businesses a competitive break

Small businesses and freelancers in the arts will benefit from a new ‘people’s bank’ run by the council with lending at fair rates to small businesses to help them grow. Such local 'banks' will help fill the gaps that have been left by large banks often refusing to fund the arts, and provide financial services to keep local money in the local economy.

Increasing funding and tax cuts for the arts and independent media

The arts have been hit hard by years of austerity, hindering the ability of individuals and communities alike to access music, theatre and art. We would work with Greens nationally to campaign to increase arts funding by £500 million a year, and to remove VAT from tickets to live performances. Locally, we would increase funding for small-scale, local independent media organisations, both in print and online, helping them to break up the current concentration of our media in the hands of the few.