Britain to cut Creative Europe arts funding

UK creative industries, and particularly film and television, are bracing themselves for the loss of European following the British government’s decision to no longer participate in Creative Europe after December 31 this year.

The decision appears in the government’s report The Future Relationship with the EU: The UK’s Approach to Negotiations published today

It says: “The UK will consider a relationship in line with non-EU Member State participation with the following programmes: Horizon Europe, Euratom Research and Training, and Copernicus. The UK will consider service access agreements for the following programmes: EU Space Surveillance and Tracking, and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service”. It omits any reference to Creative Europe.

Creative Europe was set up in 2014 to support the culture and audiovisual sectors in Europe, targeting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and in particular trans-national projects. Between 2014 and 2018 €89.5m was distributed to 376 UK-based organisations, helping to distribute 190 British films to other European countries.

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop is seeking an urgent meeting with the culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, to discuss the issue. “Creative Europe has provided vital support to Scotland’s culture sector since its establishment in 2014 and has facilitated organisations to develop valuable relationships across Europe” she said. “The UK Government’s decision to exclude Creative Europe from the scope of future relationship negotiations with the EU is incomprehensible.”

Trade unions are also disappointed at the decision, and called for new government funding to replace Creative Europe grants. “As with any other European programme that the UK may no longer participate in it’s vitally important that the UK government details how it plans to replace these programmes and make clear public commitments on the levels of funding they will make available to ensure we do not suffer economically at a time then the UK is favourably positioned to grow its share of the global markets” said the chief executive of the producer’s union John McVay.

“This is troubling news for British independent filmmakers trying to survive in a market dominated by American productions” added Philippa Childs, head of Bectu which represents workers in the entertainment industries. The UK saw records levels of production spend on its shoes in 2019, at $4.7bn (£3.6bn), but the amount spent on homegrown UK production actually fell in that period. “Creative Europe is instrumental in supporting the independent film sector through initial seed funding which enables many productions to get off the ground” she said.

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