Brexit, the global pandemic, Eat Out To Help Out, free school meals, the battle on the borders: the list of things the Tories have managed to fuck up in recent memory goes on. And now they’re coming for our arts: slashes to funding for university arts courses have been announced, as the government does not see these as “strategic priorities”.
Music, dance, performing arts, art and design, and media studies, are essentially having their subsidies halved, from £243 per full-time student per year to £121.50. It’s “one of the biggest attacks on arts and entertainment in English universities in living memory,” according to the University and College Union.
The news is part of a wider move by the Tories to direct funding towards endeavours like science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine, and healthcare, which are in line with the government’s “priorities”.
Writing for ConservativeHome last month, education secretary Gavin Williamson said that the increase in people choosing to take science and engineering subjects showed that students were “starting to pivot away from dead-end courses that leave young people with nothing but debt”.
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Bernadine Evaristo, Es Devlin, and Jarvis Cocker are just some of the public figures who have spoken out about the cuts. The Pulp frontman called the plans “astounding”, adding: “I think it will really just put off people from a certain background and that’s a pity because it’s about mixing with people with different ideas, and then you get this cross pollination of stuff that makes things happen.”
“We know we need to train doctors and nurses in order to maintain our physical national health,” Es Devlin said. “Equally, we need to train artists, musicians, designers in order to maintain our cultural national health.”
And if you needed further proof of our incompetent government, check out our handy guide to all the corrupt things the Tories have done during the pandemic.