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Culture White Paper

Volume 607: debated on Wednesday 23 March 2016

I am today laying and publishing a Government White Paper on culture.

It is the first ever Government White Paper for all the cultural sectors together, and the first covering the arts for over 50 years.

This White Paper sets out our ambition and strategy for the cultural sectors in the coming years. It outlines the key issues facing the cultural sectors today and the role we want culture to play in our society; what the Government and our public bodies will do to address those issues; and how we will ensure that everyone can enjoy and benefit from culture.

The White Paper sets out how the Government will encourage access and opportunity across the cultural sectors, with a particular focus on children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and groups which are under-represented in cultural organisations and audiences. The new Cultural Citizens programme, which was first announced by the Prime Minister in January 2016, will provide new opportunities for young people to experience and take part in cultural activities.

Through the plans set out in the White Paper, the Government and their funded bodies will provide support to local areas to help them develop their cultural ambitions and embed culture in their plans and policies for local social and economic development.

The White Paper also sets out how the Government will use culture to build the UK’s image, soft power and influence in the world and help the cultural sectors to make the most of opportunities to promote the UK’s culture and heritage around the world.

Cultural organisations need to develop new funding models in order to grow and build resilience. The White Paper sets out how the Government will help the cultural sectors to tap into new and innovative sources of funding, and how we will ensure that our publicly-funded organisations have the right structures and relationships to enable them to support the cultural sectors across the country in order to achieve our ambition.

It is the Government’s ambition that all Government Departments should work closely together and with public bodies and other partners to ensure that our children and young people have access to the best cultural opportunities available and people of all ages and backgrounds enjoy the many benefits that culture brings, at every stage in their lives.

I am grateful to all those who took part in the consultations during 2015, in round tables, written submissions and online contributions. Over 230 organisations from the cultural sectors across the country shared their views and ideas with us. The response from the cultural sectors shows they are united in our ambition to ensure that everyone in every community can enjoy and benefit from our rich and diverse culture. This White Paper sets out how we will achieve that.

The White Paper and attachments are also available at:

I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.