‘Get your own house in order’ Tom Watson tells arts

Former Labour deputy leader and ex-shadow culture secretary Tom Watson has warned the arts that the sector needs internal reform as well as government commitment to ensure its future post-Covid.

Speaking today as the new president of the multidisciplinary consultancy Counterculture Partnership, Watson said: “We need to remind policy-makers of the cultural value of the work that we do in the creative sector, as well as underlining the economic value. Our creative industries are bigger than the life sciences, the automotive sector and the oil and gas industries combined.

“As well as seeking support from government on a macro level, however, we need to get our own house in order on a micro level” said Watson, who is also chair of UK Music and who stood down as an MP at the last general election.There is a massive opportunity to look at how we in the creative sector can do things differently, such as sharing support services across a number of different cultural institutions locally, diversifying income streams and utilising new technology to communicate better with ourselves and with the public”.

John Newbigin, chair of Counterculture, welcomed Watson and said his arrival was perfectly timed. “As an organisation, Counterculture is radical and innovative in what it does, what it offers and how it’s run” he said. “Those qualities will be more important than ever as the UK’s cultural organisations dig themselves out of the present crisis and I know Tom’s wealth of experience at the interface between the arts, policy, politics and business will be a hugely valuable asset for us and for the people we serve“



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