Debates between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran during the 2019 Parliament

Thu 13th Jul 2023
Wed 30th Nov 2022
Wed 14th Jul 2021
Thu 10th Sep 2020
Tue 11th Feb 2020

School Funding: Special Educational Needs

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Thursday 23rd May 2024

(1 day, 13 hours ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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We give schools a great deal of discretion over how they use their budgets. It is right that we want the experts who know their community to use funds as they see fit, and the noble Lord knows from his own experience that schools use these budgets in very different ways. I was in a school recently which actually no longer used teaching assistants, but had dropped the class size dramatically as a result. It had teachers but a much smaller number of pupils in the class. The underlying principle, that we should trust our trusts and school leaders on how they spend the budget, is the one that any Government should support.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, we are talking about pupil premiums, and the Government once promised the introduction of an arts premium, which was never delivered. It may be a bit late now, but I hope that whatever Government are in charge on 17 July will reconsider that.

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The noble Earl may be right that we are timed out on an arts premium.

Higher Education: Arts and Humanities

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Wednesday 1st May 2024

(3 weeks, 2 days ago)

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Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty
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To ask His Majesty’s Government, following recent announcements of proposed university staff cuts, what steps they are taking to support the study of the arts and humanities in higher education.

Baroness Barran Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education (Baroness Barran) (Con)
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My Lords, we recognise the importance of the creative and performing arts to our economy. While some higher education providers have seen decreases in arts and humanities staff, academic staff numbers across England rose by 1.9% between 2019-20 and 2022-23 to 21,640.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, Gillian Keegan’s freezing of further funding for creative arts courses at universities, which has occurred since I tabled this Question, is surely pouring oil on already extremely troubled waters. We have a Government who seem wilfully blind to both the current threat to the arts at universities and the strategic importance of that pipeline. Will they reconsider that funding decision and take steps to protect the jobs and departments at Goldsmiths, Middlesex, Kent and elsewhere that are so necessary for the creative and economic future of this country?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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We absolutely agree with the noble Earl that high-quality provision across a range of subjects in the arts and humanities is critical both for our cultural enrichment as a society and for our workforce. That is why we require the Office for Students to at least maintain funding for those high-cost subjects at the current level of £16.7 million. As the noble Earl is also aware, we have dedicated funding for both our world-leading cultural institutions and other performing arts institutions.

Independent Schools

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Monday 18th March 2024

(2 months, 1 week ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I absolutely agree with my noble friend, and I thank Brentwood School and other schools involved in the types of partnerships that he described. We have such an asset in our independent schools, and this Government are focusing on encouraging more partnership work and understanding how all our pupils can benefit from that.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, following on from the previous question, does the Minister agree that, in the perceived ideological tussle between state and private, it is sometimes education itself that is forgotten? The currently less restricted independent sector can be an incubator for forward-looking educational ideas; for instance, those of Rethinking Assessment, which submitted valuable evidence to the Education for 11-16 Year Olds Committee that school education as a whole can profit from such thinking.

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I agree with the noble Earl. Independent schools have shown themselves to be areas of great innovation, but we also see important innovation in our state sector. Particularly where the two come together, we see some of the best results.

Skill Shortages in Business and Industry

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Wednesday 28th February 2024

(2 months, 3 weeks ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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About half of apprenticeships are taken up by young people under the age of 24. I think the noble Lord referred to 21, but it splits at about half under 24 and half above that. The Government have done a great deal: investing in 16 to 19 education, improving the range of options and introducing qualifications that are directly linked to the careers that young people need.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, I did not hear the Minister mention the creative industries, which certainly suffer from skills shortages in many areas. Looking at this issue in the round, does the Minister agree that cuts to the arts—such as, for instance, the proposed 100% cut in local authority funding for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra—are the worst possible advert for attracting skilled workers into the creative industries?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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As the noble Earl knows, one reason why there are skills shortages in the creative industries is their very rapid growth rate. Between 2010 and 2019, they grew one and a half times faster than the wider economy, and in 2021 they employed 2.3 million people, which is a 49% increase on 2011. We have created flexi-job and accelerated apprenticeships, and improved the transfer system, particularly aiming to support our world-beating creative industries.

Jobs Market: Graduates

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Monday 27th November 2023

(5 months, 4 weeks ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I absolutely agree with my noble friend that young people should be well-equipped to understand not just the options for their subject but that subject at that particular institution, because we know that future earnings power, and in addition future job satisfaction, vary very much between institutions. There are improvements being made, and I am happy to send details to my noble friend on ways that students can access that information.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, further to the question of the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, and the question of the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, this is not just for the arts, and it is about not just training up or career awareness but affordability. The plain fact is that many employers in the arts today cannot afford the skilled workers they need. It is at this point that the Government should intervene.

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I am always slightly baffled by this line of questioning, because when I look at the performance of our creative industries and the performing arts, I see that they are resoundingly successful, both domestically and globally. I appreciate that there are skills pressures in those areas, but they are ones that many organisations are overcoming.

Cultural Education Plan

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Tuesday 17th October 2023

(7 months, 1 week ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I thank my noble friend for her question. Obviously, she will understand that I cannot pre-empt the decisions and recommendations on the cultural education plan, but I absolutely agree with her about the importance of partnerships. I understand that the expert panel is looking at examples of good practice, of exactly the type that my noble friend set out, but also the barriers to implementing them, including in relation to infrastructure.

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I am grateful to the noble Lord for his question, because the focus of the cultural education plan is to tackle those disparities in opportunity and to promote more access for children in areas of significant deprivation, making sure that children have good cultural experiences in school but also outside school.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, the plan has highly laudable aims, but does the Minister not appreciate that the national curriculum and accountability measures being out of scope, as the terms of reference clearly state, is supremely unhelpful, if a major goal is universal access to the arts in schools, since this in effect limits the solution before the inquiry even gets under way?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I simply do not accept the noble Earl’s assertion. I will make two points. First, the knowledge-rich curriculum, which this Government have delivered, gives a foundation for children to exercise their creativity. Secondly, in all my visits to schools, of which I make many around the country, I see them doing extraordinary things, offering children all sorts of cultural opportunities across drama, the arts and music.

Teacher Shortages

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Wednesday 6th September 2023

(8 months, 3 weeks ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The noble Baroness makes a good point. We are extremely supportive of partnerships between independent schools and state-funded schools. That cuts across a wide range of areas, of which specialist teaching is just one. What I hear from independent schools when I talk to them about this issue is that it is very much a two-way street. It is not just about independent schools sharing their resources with their neighbouring schools. It is very much in both directions, and both groups benefit.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, following on from the question from the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, if, as is clearly the case, bursaries are an effective driver of teacher recruitment, will the Government reintroduce them for arts subjects, including art and design and music, where recruitment is now falling well short of their targets—less than 60% in both these subject areas?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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We always keep these issues under review, but our assessment at the moment is that the greatest pressures are in some regional areas—hence our levelling-up premiums—and in certain specific subjects, which I know the noble Earl is familiar with, which those are.

Teacher Vacancies

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Thursday 13th July 2023

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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We work closely with teachers, teaching unions, and schools and colleges all the time to look at workload pressures and well-being. There is a lot of work going on in this area, including looking at more flexible working options and a well-being charter for schools. On SATs, I do not accept the noble Lord’s premise. It is essential, now more than ever post pandemic, that we understand children’s level of attainment as they leave primary school and go into secondary. I hear too many stories about children going into secondary without a sufficient reading age to be able to engage with the curriculum, and obviously that leads to major attendance problems. I ask the noble Lord to reflect on the premise of his question.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, arts subjects are penalised, not just through the accountability measures, EBacc and Progress 8, but through the total lack of bursaries for those subjects. Yet art and design, for example, is predicted to reach less than half the teacher supply target next year. Will the Government review bursaries for arts subjects?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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We keep all these policies under review. The noble Earl will know that we have changed bursaries in response to changes in the market in a number of subjects. We will keep that under review, but we also have to prioritise where we think the gaps are most severe.

Higher Education: Arts and Humanities

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Wednesday 28th June 2023

(11 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education (Baroness Barran) (Con)
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My Lords, we are supporting the study of the arts and humanities across our education system. Our EBacc ambition has humanities at its heart in order to increase the number of pupils studying these subjects at GCSE and beyond. We are introducing higher technical qualifications and T-levels in creative arts and design, and continue to support our higher education institutions, including maintaining funding for our world-leading specialist providers at £58 million for the 2023-24 financial year.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, would the Minister acknowledge that these cuts, while shocking in themselves, are simply the latest in a pattern of such cuts at universities across the country? In practical terms, they are to make savings, but more materially, they are the result of a long-term downgrading by this Government of arts education from primary school to university. The UEA cuts include creative writing, yet its globally renowned MA course has produced Booker and Nobel Prize winners. Does the Minister appreciate that, if the Government continue with their destructive policy towards arts education, in the end it will be our global reputation which suffers?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I absolutely do not accept what the noble Earl has just asserted. If we look at full- time undergraduates undertaking arts and humanities courses, at a time of significant growth in our undergraduate population, the figure is almost unchanged between 2019 and 2022—from 20% moving to 19%. The percentage of disadvantaged young people undertaking these qualifications has also been stable. Looking across similar providers which have a significant percentage of arts and humanities provision, a number of them are in a comparably much stronger financial position.

Free Music Education

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Monday 12th June 2023

(11 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I think the noble Lord knows the answer to his question. Music lessons are an area in which schools are allowed, with certain restrictions—for example, children who are in care have an absolute right to free musical instrument lessons—to charge if the lesson is at the request of the pupil’s parents.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, the Minister repeatedly tells us that the EBacc has had no effect on the arts, including music, in schools. How, then, will she account for the fall in GCSE music entries of 27% between 2010 and 2022, and the further expected fall of 12% in the last year?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I encourage the noble Earl to look at both the GCSE and the technical award figures, which have stayed relatively stable at about 8% of the pupil population over the last four years. I also point to our absolutely extraordinary and thriving creative industries which, despite the House’s concerns, appear to be able to recruit just the people they need.

Performing Arts: GCSE and A-level Qualifications

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Wednesday 26th April 2023

(1 year ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I do not accept either that the EBacc is damaging entries and activity in relation to creative subjects or that it is wise to judge the value of the EBacc only in relation to creative subjects. It is clear from all research and evidence that our children in need a broad grounding, which the EBacc offers.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, can the Minister confirm whether discussion of the national curriculum and of accountability measures will be within scope of the cultural education plan, to which she has just referred? These matters are clearly vital, as the present discussion demonstrates.

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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More of the details on the cultural education plan will be published shortly, but my understanding is that it will highlight the importance of high-quality cultural education and the important role that wider cultural institutions can play, working with schools. I know that my noble friend Lord Parkinson recently visited West Bromwich and saw an example of that, where the Shireland Academy and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra are opening a new school with a particular focus on music education.

Schools: Data, Digital and Financial Literacy

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Tuesday 14th March 2023

(1 year, 2 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The right reverend Prelate raises an important point. Certainly, when I was talking to a number of young people recently, they raised exactly the same issues as he does. I do not think that there is any resistance at all from the Government about the importance of a STEAM curriculum; we talk a lot about STEM, but we also talk a lot about our vibrant and incredibly successful creative industries. Our commitment to the teaching workforce has been that, during this period of recovery post Covid, there will be no changes to the national curriculum.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, seeing that, according to last year’s Ofcom research, 6% of households —1.6 million—have no internet access, have the Government looked closely at the relationship between that and digital literacy in schools? If so, what do they conclude and how many children do they estimate that this affects?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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If one looks from the other end of the telescope, the noble Earl will be aware that the Government were proactive during Covid in making sure that children who could not access a laptop and the internet were given equipment to be able to do so.

Schools: Artificial Intelligence Software

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Thursday 19th January 2023

(1 year, 4 months ago)

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Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, the positive opportunities of AI are to be welcomed, but there is a huge concern, dealt with in detail in the excellent report on the creative industries that was referred to by the noble Baroness, Lady Stowell, about the effect of potential text and data-mining exemptions to IP law on creative workers, including writers and musicians. Will the Government rethink this proposal and properly consult creative workers about this?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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This whole area throws up enormous issues in terms of copyright and intellectual property, of which this is one example. I know that colleagues in the Office for Artificial Intelligence are considering these issues in detail.

Children’s Private Information: Data Protection Law

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Monday 12th December 2022

(1 year, 5 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I do not believe that it was a mistake. If we look at any sector or industry, we see that the most successful use data intelligently, proportionately and safely. That is what the department intends to do.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, how much information is the Home Office allowed to get from the DfE for immigration enforcement purposes?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I apologise; I am afraid that I will have to write to the noble Earl with the detail on that.

Initial Teacher Training Providers

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Monday 5th December 2022

(1 year, 5 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The Government are focused on ensuring that there is the right capacity in the market. The noble Lord is right that not all existing providers have been successful, but the Government are working with them to make sure that they can work in partnership with accredited providers to make sure that we have capacity all across the country.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, on top of the serious concerns that the noble Lord, Lord Watson, has raised, we now have a shortage of teachers in many subjects. Does the Minister agree that we should introduce bursaries for all subjects not reaching their recruitment targets? We need the teachers as well as the courses.

Education System

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Wednesday 30th November 2022

(1 year, 5 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The department is working very closely with the further education sector to manage the transition that the noble Lord refers to. In terms of funding for skills, we are investing £3.8 billion more in further education and skills over the Parliament as a whole.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, does the Minister agree that without both a supportive system, as the noble Lord, Lord Lexden, has mentioned, and proper funding we are in grave danger of losing those practical subjects—not just art and design, music and drama but science subjects, including chemistry—which require designated spaces and equipment but are nevertheless an essential aspect of a child’s educational experience?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I would be happy to discuss this further with the noble Earl, but when we look at the data on uptake of some of these practical subjects, we can see very strong growth in computer science and design and technology, particularly at A-level.

Plurilingual and Intercultural Education

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Tuesday 18th October 2022

(1 year, 7 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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Obviously, the Government support continuing professional development for people in work—this includes our commitment to a lifelong loan entitlement—so that we as an economy and as workers within that economy can stay agile to the requirements, whether languages or more broadly.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, focusing on the “intercultural education” aspect of this Question, can the Minister say what assessment has been made so far of the loss of value represented by the lack of reciprocity in the Turing scheme?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I do not have a formal assessment of the impact of the lack of reciprocity, but I am very pleased to share with the House that around 38,000 young people will be funded to take part in the Turing scheme this year, going to 150 locations, and that 52% of those young people come from disadvantaged backgrounds. The noble Earl understands better than I do that you cannot make a direct comparison with the Erasmus scheme, but I remind the House that in its last year 17,000 young people took part.

Apprenticeship Levy Scheme

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Thursday 16th June 2022

(1 year, 11 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I think the noble Baroness would acknowledge that some of the changes that we have introduced, including the levy, to create a sustainable model of funding for apprenticeships, reflect some of the problems of quality identified in the Richard review in 2012. I hope that she would also acknowledge that we have seen an important growth in degree apprenticeships. She is absolutely right that we have seen a drop in intermediate apprenticeships, but that is a principal area of focus for the department going forward.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, following on from the question of the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, are the Government continuing to consult the creative sector to assess how well the new flexi-job scheme fits the bill and, importantly, provides the necessary number of apprenticeships, including in the theatre industry, where such a scheme particularly needs to be targeted?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I absolutely reassure the noble Earl that the department is actively engaging with all key sectors, including the creative sector. On the specifics, obviously the apprenticeship model is push and pull. The department is delivering what employers are asking for, but we need employers to respond to that across every sector.

Schools: Creative Subjects and the English Baccalaureate

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Tuesday 29th March 2022

(2 years, 1 month ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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We simply do not accept that there is a crisis in creative subjects. The noble Lord rightly quoted some data, but I point out that the percentage of students taking art and design at GCSE is up from 26.5% to 30.4%. He is right that there have been declines in some other subjects, but he will also be aware that the numbers taking vocational and technical qualifications have gone up very substantially, particularly in media: since 2018 the figures for media have risen from 4,500 to 55,000 students.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, despite what the Minister says, the message clearly being sent out via EBacc to teachers, parents and children is that creative subjects are of lesser worth, a message independent schools are ignoring. Is the Minister aware that there is five times greater spend on music in independent schools than in state schools, including academies? Does the Minister agree that this is bad for levelling up, bad for education and bad for our future economy, a key aspect of which will be the creative industries, as independent schools know full well?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The department does not track the expenditure on these subjects in independent schools. What the department is committed to, and restated in the schools White Paper yesterday, is that every child should have a rich cultural education, and we will be publishing a new cultural education plan jointly with DCMS next year.

Music Education in State Schools

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Wednesday 2nd March 2022

(2 years, 2 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I agree with the noble Baroness that parents in every school care about the richness and breadth of the curriculum which their children undertake. The music education hubs that were created in 2012 now work with around 91.4% of primary schools in this country and almost 88% of secondary schools. Since 2018, there has been a sharp increase in both music tuition and whole-class ensembles.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, the effect of the accountability measures on the arts is becoming increasingly clear as the years pass by. The narrowing of the curriculum at key stage 3 has led to a reduced uptake in music courses at key stages 4 and 5. In some cases, courses are not even being offered. If the Government truly believe in a broad and balanced education, then the EBacc and Progress 8 measures will need to be fundamentally reassessed.

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I cannot agree with the noble Earl. The EBacc was designed to be limited, absolutely to allow for the study of other subjects—many of which I know the noble Earl rightly cares a great deal about.

Capita: Turing Scheme Contract

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Thursday 27th January 2022

(2 years, 3 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I absolutely cannot accept what my noble friend suggests. We have had over 41,000 applications for the scheme this year. That compares with around 16,500 under Erasmus+ in 2019-20. Forty-eight per cent of those placements are from students from disadvantaged backgrounds, compared to 37% under Erasmus. We are aiming for global Britain and this reflects it.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, a huge concern is that Turing does not pay for tuition fees. What assessment have the Government made of provision within the 120 countries participating in Erasmus, since why would such providers accept UK students when Erasmus will cover the fees for those institutions?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The noble Earl is right to raise the issue of tuition fees, but I am sure he is aware that even under Erasmus+ half of mobility placements were outside Erasmus+. Judging by the incredible success of our universities announced yesterday, with 605,000 international students coming to our universities —a ratio of two to one of in-placements to out under Erasmus—I do not think it is our top concern.

Education: Teacher Departures

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Wednesday 3rd November 2021

(2 years, 6 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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As my noble friend knows, teacher quality is the single biggest determinant of pupil outcomes within a school. She is right that it is vital we recruit the best and brightest teachers for our schools. We have a range of initiatives, with significant bursaries for subjects such as biology, geography, languages and, of course, STEM subjects. We remain committed to introducing a £30,000 starting salary for early career teachers and to professional development throughout their careers.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, can the Minister say whether teachers with particular professional qualifications are, for whatever reason, more likely to stay in the profession? Do the Government have data on this?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I am very happy to check what data we have on the longevity, if that is the right word, of teachers from different disciplines. Certainly, in preparing for this Question and looking at the experience of early career teachers, I know that there is actually very little variation in their initial appointment to teaching in a state school. Art and design and music, which I know the noble Earl is interested in, are in the mid-70s, but that is the same as chemistry, physics and a number of other subjects.

Schools: Examination Assessments

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Tuesday 12th October 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I think it is early to draw firm conclusions, as my noble and learned friend hints. Obviously, there was a different basis for assessment last summer from pre 2019. But the House will be aware that this was a record year in terms of higher education admissions and that the Government’s plan for jobs is focused on giving young people the skills they need to move into employment.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, does the Minister agree that the conclusion we should draw from the Covid experience in schools is a recognition of the paramount importance of a school’s internal monitoring of a child’s progress, central to which is the role of teachers? What then is the point of GCSEs if children remain in school until 18? This is not about fairness but about whether such exams are necessary. If school education in many countries thrives without the additional stress of external testing at 16, why cannot ours?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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Well, I would question the noble Earl in terms of fairness. It is, of course, as I am sure he would agree, absolutely critical, and we believe that exams are the fairest way of judging students’ performance. GCSEs rigorously assess knowledge acquired by pupils during key stage 4 and are in line with expected standards in countries with the highest-performing education systems. So, despite remaining in education to 18, not all students will progress to level 3 qualifications, and therefore GCSEs remain vital to our education system.

Artists and Musicians: Working in Europe

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Thursday 9th September 2021

(2 years, 8 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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As my noble friend will have heard, we have already given unprecedented support approaching £2 billion to the sector. We are working tirelessly to make sure that the practical advice works for the sector and we thank it for its co-operation and feedback on that. We are exploring the options for a creative export office.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, does the Minister agree that it is clear from industry that any one of a number of concerns, whether visas, permits, carnets, CITES or cabotage, may by themselves make touring impossible through costs, red tape or, in the case of cabotage, the sheer impracticalities involved, as things stand? The department’s August announcement was misleading. This matter urgently needs to be sorted out through further discussions with the EU.

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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We are keen and our aim is to make touring completely accessible once more to all artists who wish to tour. Our belief is that the best way to do that is through bilateral agreements with individual member states, which is what we are doing.

National Lottery

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Wednesday 14th July 2021

(2 years, 10 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I am not sure that I would agree with my noble friend and call affordability a fuss—I think that for once I may have a number of your Lordships on my side. Affordability is important but, as my noble friend knows, we see the lowest level of problem gambling in the lottery games. As I said in response to the earlier question, the primary purpose of the lottery is to provide money for good causes and 30% of the revenue raised has done that since its inception.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, in the last major debate that we had on the National Lottery, which was three years ago, I made the suggestion that more could be done to inform the public of the immense contribution of the National Lottery to good causes at local and regional levels, for instance at physical points of sale. That suggestion was not taken up, but if one of the effects of the past year has been an increased awareness of local community and community pride, perhaps this is something that might now be looked at.

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The noble Earl makes a very interesting point. I know that all the lottery distributors pride themselves on their ability to reach deeply into communities and to make those local connections.

Destination Management Organisations

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Tuesday 8th June 2021

(2 years, 11 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I thank my noble friend for highlighting the varied and sustained support that the Government have been offering in the range of funds that he cited, some of which have been available since 2019 and others which are yet to be launched. We are working across Whitehall and with local and regional stakeholders, including DMOs, to make sure that ongoing investment in places reflects their local priorities and needs.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, following on from the question of the noble Baroness, Lady Merron, there is a question about how much the Government appreciate the important role local authorities should be playing in the visitor economy. The news of further job losses for visitor and museum staff, such as the 50% losses currently threatened in Harrogate Borough Council, is hugely worrying. Local authorities need to be given the resources to do the job intended for them.

Music Festivals: Covid-19-related Cancellations

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Tuesday 27th April 2021

(3 years ago)

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Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty
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To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to introduce a government-backed insurance scheme to provide cover for music festivals this summer against COVID-related cancellations.

Baroness Barran Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Barran) (Con)
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My Lords, the Government recognise the importance of the UK’s live music sector. More than £21 million from the Culture Recovery Fund has supported over 100 music festivals to ensure that they survive and can put on events in future. We are aware of the sector’s concern about securing indemnity insurance, and we continue to assess all available options to provide further support as the public health context evolves.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, does the Minister agree that providing Covid insurance would help various groups of people—the creative sector, of course, and local communities, but, perhaps most importantly, the festival-going public, including many young people? The Government have provided indemnity for film and TV. They urgently need to do so for live events and save our festivals this summer.

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The Government are extremely keen that the festival-going public should have a chance to enjoy live events as quickly as possible, and that is what is behind our events research programme, but we need to be absolutely confident that any scheme would result in an increase in activity.

Music and Performing Arts Students: Visas and Work Permits

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Thursday 11th March 2021

(3 years, 2 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I thought for a second that my noble friend had a previous musical touring career he had not told us about. We are working closely with those in the sector on exactly the sort of practical issues my noble friend refers to in terms of legals and logistics, to make sure that everything works for them once they can start touring again safely.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, the Minister mentioned work permits, but work permits and visas are two very different things. As the noble Lord, Lord Wood, said, the performing arts are as one in asking for a bespoke visa waiver agreement as a matter of urgency—this can be an agreement that does not cross the Government’s red lines on free movement. As such, will the Government and department have discussions with the noble Lord, Lord Frost, about this, and does the Minister know what plans there might be to talk to Maroš Šefčovič on this matter in the future?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I cannot speculate about the future, but I can reassure the noble Lord that we work closely with both the FCDO and the Cabinet Office on these issues.

Music Sector: Working in Europe

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Wednesday 3rd February 2021

(3 years, 3 months ago)

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Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty
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To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they plan to take to support the music sector with (1) touring, and (2) other work, in Europe.

Baroness Barran Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Barran) (Con)
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My Lords, the Government recognise the importance of international touring for the whole range of UK cultural and creative practitioners. The Secretary of State has committed to creating a DCMS-led working group to work closely with the sector’s representative organisations and other key government departments to assist businesses and individuals as far as possible to work confidently in the EU. That group met for the first time on 20 January.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, does the Minister find it acceptable that artists from countries across the globe, such as Colombia and the United Arab Emirates, have through the standard visa waiver agreement potentially better access to the EU than ourselves, the EU’s next-door neighbour? What steps are the Government taking to proactively engage with the EU to find a solution to touring arrangements in Europe? Having to deal individually with 27 EU countries and even, as in Belgium and Germany, regions within countries does not cut it. It is the last thing that the music sector wants.

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The noble Earl is right to highlight some of the challenges that now face our brilliant musicians and creative artists. As he knows, in the UK-EU trade negotiations the EU tabled a proposal for a permanent waiver for short stays covering UK and EU citizens that drew on agreements such as those with Colombia and the UAE. However, this offer would not have met the needs of touring musicians in the round, nor was it compatible with our manifesto commitment to take back control of our borders. Therefore, our starting point is to listen to and work with those in the sector to make sure that they have the information that they need, in a clear and accessible way, so that they can continue their valuable work once Covid restrictions are lifted.

European Union: Visa-free Touring for Musicians

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Tuesday 19th January 2021

(3 years, 4 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I can say only to my noble friend that I hope that the Secretary of State’s round table tomorrow constitutes utmost urgency.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, at the very least, we urgently need a 90-day supplementary agreement, which will cover most touring. Will the Government acknowledge that mode 4 should not be explored to resolve this issue? It is clear now that mode 4 is not going to work. There is no precedent in any other agreement for mode 4 to allow creative work and touring. A supplementary agreement should be sought.

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I can say only to the noble Earl that we tried hard in these negotiations to make the case based on the evidence given to us by the sectors that we represent, and the EU rejected those suggestions.

Covid-19: Support for Entertainment and Music Industry Freelancers

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Monday 9th November 2020

(3 years, 6 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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Our freelancers are indeed the lifeblood of our creative industries; that is why we are working so hard to get funding to organisations that, in turn, will be employing freelancers. For example, the majority of successful applicants to the Culture Recovery Fund are planning activity to start before March. Our research suggests, however, that not all freelancers who are eligible for support are actually accessing it; we would really encourage them to do so.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, while there are different reasons for musicians falling through the gaps in support, the most common is that less than half of their work comes from self-employment. Will the Minister advise the Treasury that the music sector, and indeed other sectors, would be helped considerably by lowering the threshold of income from self-employment from 50% to 25% and removing the £50,000 cap on earnings when there is no equivalent cap for the CJRS?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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We understand the important points that the noble Earl has raised and we are keeping these schemes under review. To repeat what I have said, we believe that the key to this is to get people performing as quickly as possible; we have tried to do this both through the exemptions that we have achieved for rehearsals and in the direction of our funding.

Covid-19: Regional Theatres

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Monday 28th September 2020

(3 years, 7 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I thank my noble friend for highlighting the pressures that some extraordinarily talented performers face. We have tried to move as quickly as possible on this. We have already allocated £3.36 million of emergency funding to 135 grass-roots music venues, and we are currently processing over 4,000 applications for over £880 million to the cultural recovery fund.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, surely in these times it is not a coincidence that Dudley Council last week announced the decision to demolish the art deco Dudley Hippodrome, despite the clear desire of the local people to restore the building and maintain it for cultural use. Will the Government look at that decision? More broadly, what guarantees will they give that, with both the effects of Covid and the loosening of planning rules, many of our physical cultural assets—not just theatres but art centres, museums and other venues—will not eventually face a similar fate?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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My Lords, I am sorry to hear about the fate of the Dudley Hippodrome. However, strategically, this fund has been very much aligned to the fact that we must protect key physical institutions to protect the jobs and creativity that are found there.

Music Industry

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Thursday 10th September 2020

(3 years, 8 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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My noble friend makes a very persuasive case for cathedral choirs, and the Government share her enthusiasm and recognition of their important contribution. From 15 August, we reached stage 4 of our road map on the safe reopening of venues, which has allowed choirs, including cathedral choirs, to put on live indoor performances in front of a socially distanced audience. I am pleased to say that yesterday’s announcement about groups of six makes no change to that.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, newly self-employed musicians who started self-employment in the tax year 2019-20 have no financial support under the current measures. This is the younger generation, whom we need to nurture. Can the self-employed scheme be extended to include them?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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There are no current plans that I am aware of to extend the self-employed scheme to that group, but the £95 million fund announced by Arts Council England is trying to maximise employment opportunities, including for those early in their careers.

Covid-19: Performing Arts

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Monday 13th July 2020

(3 years, 10 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran
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My understanding is that the package does include dance companies in particular and touring companies. My noble friend refers to training that I understand is in line with other elite sports, but I am happy to write her to confirm that.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB) [V]
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My Lords, even with the funding, this could yet be a disaster for the music sector where 90% of the workforce is self-employed. Will the Government extend the self-employed scheme at least until the end of the year? Otherwise, there is the danger that many talented musicians will leave the industry or go abroad.

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran
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I beg to differ with the noble Earl that the scheme is a disaster. It has been welcomed widely by the sector and is recognised as the most generous scheme of its type in Europe. I am not aware of any plans to extend the self-employed scheme.

EU: British Musicians

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Wednesday 3rd June 2020

(3 years, 11 months ago)

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The Question was considered in a Virtual Proceeding via video call.
Baroness Barran Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Barran) (Con)
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The Government recognise the importance to musicians of the continued ability to tour, for both artistic and economic reasons. We are open to negotiating reciprocal arrangements to facilitate this. A reciprocal arrangement based on best precedent will mean that UK citizens will be able to undertake some business activities in the EU without a work permit on a short-term basis. The details, including the range of activities, the documentation needed and the time limit, will be negotiated.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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Touring and playing in Europe are essential aspects of the livelihoods of UK musicians, as well as being vital culturally. A hard Brexit would be devastating for an industry worth £5.2 billion, without even taking into account the destructive effect that Covid is already having on musicians’ incomes. Do the Government recognise that it is therefore crucial that they negotiate a mobility framework advantageous to British musicians, including an EU-wide multi-entry touring visa valid for two years, and that this framework needs to be in place before the end of the transition period?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran
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We absolutely recognise that musicians, and the performing arts more broadly, are a crucial part of our culture and our economy. We are working towards a reciprocal arrangement for a touring visa based on best precedent, so that UK musicians could work short term within the EU. However, we do not currently believe that a touring visa, such as the noble Earl suggests, is legally possible.

Arts and Cultural Services

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Tuesday 3rd March 2020

(4 years, 2 months ago)

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Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty
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To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to improve the provision of arts and cultural services at (1) local, and (2) regional, level.

Baroness Barran Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Barran) (Con)
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My Lords, the Government have committed to supporting our vital cultural and creative sectors across the country. In October 2019, we announced a new £250 million cultural investment fund—the largest ever single investment in regional cultural infrastructure, local museums and neighbourhood libraries. DCMS’s arm’s-length body, Arts Council England, invests more than £600 million in arts and culture each year. It is spending more outside London than ever before, particularly targeting places where cultural engagement is low.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, arts and cultural services have been among the first to go as a result of the Government’s policy of austerity, with £400 million cut from local authority spending for England alone since 2011, according to the County Councils Network. Museums have been squeezed, libraries have closed and there has been a significant decrease in serious theatre production originating outside London. Does the Minister not agree that local authority funding remains the most effective means of day-to-day maintenance of the arts? The future will be bleak if the Government do not reverse the cuts. Will they do so? The regions deserve better.

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran
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The noble Earl is obviously right to reflect on the challenging funding environments faced by local authorities over the past few years, but he will be aware that local authorities across England will see a 4.4% increase—£2.9 billion in real terms—in their core spending power in 2020. Local authorities are extremely well placed to decide how to prioritise their spending. We are clear that expenditure on arts and culture is one of the best decisions that local authorities can make.

Victorian Mills

Debate between Earl of Clancarty and Baroness Barran
Tuesday 11th February 2020

(4 years, 3 months ago)

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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran
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My noble friend raises a point about how previous usage impacts on the ability to regenerate. This is true across a range of historic and industrial heritage buildings, not just mills. Again, Historic England can provide a lot of expertise in this area, but I am aware that this is a matter of concern. Sadly, as a result of arson, in the last decade there have been more than 100 fires in the Bradford mills close to my noble friend’s home, but we are working with the fire and rescue services to address this.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, will the Government replace the money we have received up to now from the EU for heritage projects, without which mill conversions will be significantly more difficult?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran
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The details on that are not yet fully worked out but the noble Earl will be aware of the shared prosperity fund which is looking to address a number of areas of previous EU funding.