Fiona Mactaggart, MP for Slough met with arts organisations at an event in parliament, to celebrate the difference that arts and culture makes in Slough and the UK generally. With a thriving creative infrastructure, arts and cultural organisations in Slough play a significant role in the nation’s cultural reputation.
Arts and culture makes a powerful contribution to the nation as a whole; adding £7.7 billion to the UK economy for less than 0.1% of Government funding in England.
The event was attended by British mezzo soprano Sarah Connelly, CBE, Secretary of State John Whittingdale, and Arts Council England’s Chief Executive Darren Henley, who all recognised the powerful contribution arts and culture makes to the nation as a whole. The event included performances from the Royal Shakespeare Company’s multi award-winning production of Matilda The Musical and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, with objects on display from London’s Horniman Museum and Manchester’s National Football Museum. An apprentice form the Royal Opera House costume department was also in attendance, talking to Parliamentarians about her work.
Fiona said: “The creative industries contribute so much to the UK and creative roles are important to the many companies in our town. This important industry doesn’t get as much credit as it should and I plan to highlight the benefits of arts and culture to everyone over the next few years. This event also celebrated Britain’s great museums and I was privileged to hold the ball used in the 1966 world cup final, which England won, it is in the National Football Museums collection!”
Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said: “The arts bring us pleasure and happiness in ways that can’t be quantified, which is why as the national development agency for the arts, museums and libraries, it is important for us to make the case for public investment in arts and culture. We direct public money into nurturing a national arts ecology so that everyone can enjoy and benefit from the arts.”
Fiona has tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons which has gathered the signatures of 45 MPs so far, with cross party support from Labour, Conservative, SNP, Lib Dem, SDLP, Green and DUP MPs. This follows the Centre for Economics and Business Research's finding that arts and culture in England contributes £7.7 billion to the UK economy from an investment of 0.1 per cent of public spending.
As part of the Industry and Parliament Trust, Fiona spent time during the last two years visiting cultural institutions around the country to gain an insight in the work they do.