Anger across creative sector at latest UK government media campaign

A tweet from the UK Treasury, stating that ‘The UK has a world leading creative sector with our musicians, artists, fashion labels and publishers known across the world. In the last decade this sector has grown over 1.5x faster than the UK economy – boosting jobs, opportunities and growth for people across the country’, has triggered a flood of criticism from creative professionals. 

For its level of insensitivity and crassness, the post has been compared to the infamous ‘cyber ballet dancer’ campaign from October 2020, from which the then Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden was forced to distance himself after an angry backlash.

Commenting on the Treasury’s tweet, countertenor Iestyn Morris commented, ‘Risible words. We do have a global reputation, but when great institutions such as Metropolitan opera [and] Netherlands radiochoir have to send open letters, begging you to save ENO, WNO, BBC singers (the list goes on and on), this global reputation is not a good one!’

Making reference to the adverse impact of Brexit on touring musicians, Tim Brennan, founder of the UK’s Carry on Touring advocacy campaign, added, For once you are correct, the UK is home to a world leading creative sector, however, our govt has decided to do its best to destroy every ounce of creativity it can, starting by scrapping music tuition in schools, through to ending freedom of movement, which has made practically impossible to tour the EU, our closest market.’

‘Do you not get the irony of putting a tweet like this out as our classical music industry is collapsing around us with countless careers destroyed?’, comments soprano Elizabeth Atherton. ‘Unfathomable that you think you have anything to crow about as artists scrabble about just trying to survive.’

Several posters have questioned the ethical position of a supposedly impartial government department using public funding for a politically motivated message.