General Election 2015: How manifesto policies affect events

Political leaders unveil manifestos in the run up to the May election
Political leaders unveil manifestos in the run up to the May election

UK political parties have released their manifestos ahead of the May 2015 General Election, offering a range of new policies targeting the event industry.

The Conservative Party

The Conservatives set out plans inline with those announced in March by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport last month, primarily that of setting challenging targets for Visit Britain and Visit England. The manifesto also stated it will continue to support creative industries, as well as elite sports funding as part of the Olympic and Paralympic legacy.

It also highlighted plans to deliver other high profile sporting events, including the Rugby World Cup in 2015, the World Athletics Championship in 2017, IPC World Championships in 2017 and the Cricket World Cup in 2019.

The Conservatives also pledged to maximise new sports in the UK, in particular through greater links with the US National Football League, the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball, with the ultimate ambition of hosting new franchises in the UK.

In addition, the manifesto underlined plans to support a Great Exhibition in the North and the development of a modern world-class concert hall for London.

The Labour Party

Labour has pledged to create a Prime Minister’s Committee on the Arts, Culture and Creative Industries, with a membership drawn from all sectors and regions. The Committee will bring issues of concern direct to the attention of the Prime Minister

The party added that it would also increase the number of apprenticeships in the creative industries.

The Liberal Democrats

The Lib Dem’s manifesto stated a will to address the barriers to finance faced by small creative businesses, and support their growth through the Creative Industries Council. It also outlined the party’s plans to strengthen the Hospitality and Tourism Council, with the Business and Culture Secretaries as co-chairs and give a higher status to tourism within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

On a smaller scale, Nick Clegg’s party said it would cut back on the "petty over-regulation of everyday life, like removing licensing requirements for leafleting for community events" as part of the Freedoms Act.

The UK Independence Party

While UKIP has pledged to encourage regenerative arts projects into coastal towns, and create a dedicated Minister of State for Heritage and Tourism, attached to the Cabinet Office, it also announced it would abolish the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, in order to make governmental savings.

The department was included alongside the Department for Energy and Climate Change and the Department for International Development as offices with "essential powers and functions [that] can be merged into other departments".

Its manifesto also supported removing VAT completely from repairs to listed buildings, as well as an amendment of the smoking ban that would give pubs and clubs the choice to open smoking rooms.

The Green Party

The Greens provided good news for arts venues, promising to increase government arts funding by £500 million and reinstate proper levels of funding for local authorities, helping to keep local museums, theatres, libraries and art galleries open.  

It also outlined plans to reduce VAT to 5% for live performances and give local authorities powers to encourage local live performance in the arts. This would be done by moving funding from the regional to the local level, and modifying regulations, so that small-scale live performance in pubs and similar venues is not stifled.

More: UK Government announces new events strategy

Budget 2015: What it means for events and experiential

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