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Our response to Keir Starmer's New Year speech

Updated: Jun 3

We reflect on the Leader of the Labour Party's latest speech, delivered on 5th January 2023 in Stratford, London.


We were delighted to hear Keir Starmer explicitly acknowledging the considerable efforts of the UK's creative and cultural sectors in helping the nation to bounce back from Covid-19; our post-pandemic policy recommendations, which we developed with our research partners at the Centre for Cultural Value and launched in the UK Parliament in May 2022, have brought much needed attention to these efforts and continue to shape policy responses.

We particularly welcome Keir’s commitment to devolving cultural policy making to local communities as we've been calling for this for some time. Our thinking on the Creative Improvement Districts model could play a role here: the Greater Manchester Combined Authority are already rolling them out with Stockport Council and Rochdale Council, and other places have also begun to explore them with our team. In addition, our proposals for a 'Culture Forum' programme in local and combined authority areas (see pg 16 of downloadable document here) could see local people being better included in the setting of cultural policy priorities in their own area.

Keir also talked passionately about the need to better support workers right across the economy, and this is a particular area of interest for us. People working in the creative and cultural sectors can experience complex challenges associated with the unique way in which they operate. Thankfully, Keir's regional colleagues - Metro Mayors Andy Burnham, Steve Rotherham, Tracy Brabin, Oliver Coppard, Dan Norris, and Nik Johnson - have already made Culture Commons' ‘Creative Workforce Pledge' to support their local workforce, a 10-point plan, including a call for a 'Freelance Charter' (an idea that has now been picked up by our colleagues at Creative UK) and the appointment of a 'Commissioner for Freelancers'.

We'll now be engaging with the Shadow Cabinet in the coming months to explore policy mechanisms that can support the devolutionary ambitions Keir set out, and make sure they work for the UK's creative and cultural sectors. As you'd expect, we'll continue to monitor developments around the “national missions” Keir promised in his speech and evaluate their implications for our sectors too. You can keep up with our analysis by signing up to our briefings here:

If you or your organisation would like to access some of the more detailed analysis we develop for our clients and partners here at Culture Commons, please email


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