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Creative Policy & Regulation

What the UK’s creative industries can expect from new culture secretary Lisa Nandy


By Tom Banks, Creative editor

July 8, 2024 | 6 min read

Lisa Nandy has been named as Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport and has said “the hard work begins today”.

Image of Lisa Nandy

Culture secretary Lisa Nandy / DCMS

She replaces the former Conservative MP Lucy Frazer, who lost her seat in the UK general election and has been given the brief in place of shadow culture secretary Thangham Debbonaire, who lost her Bristol Central seat to the Green Party. Some 13 MPs held the post of culture secretary over the Conservatives’ 14-year tenure.

“From Rugby League to Royal Opera, our cultural and sporting heritage runs through our towns, villages and cities and is one of our country’s greatest assets,” she said as she took to X following her appointment.

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Nandy, who is known for her support of regional access to better services and opportunities, set up the Centre for Towns in 2018, which claimed to be an independent research and analysis organization.

In 2021 she was given the portfolio of shadow leveling-up secretary and in 2022 was publicly critical of The Conservatives Leveling Up white paper.

Much of her record on culture and the creative industries is through local advocacy, where she’s backed their community value. She’s also spoken in favor of the Cultural Renewal Fund (designed to help pandemic-impacted businesses) and backed an overhaul of the school-age education system in general, which encourages “curiosity, creativity and critical thinking.”

During her Labour conference speech in October 2023, she spoke about the cultural and creative industries’ export contribution to the UK economy and how they promote tourism, drive growth and create jobs.

Nandy is the daughter of a TV producer mother and one of her main duties will be to review the findings of the BBC Funding Model Review, which will be published in October (and was commissioned under Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Government).

In the past she has stated that she would like to see the license fee protected and that the BBC should be owned by license fee holders.

In 2022, she spoke to Times Radio about the importance of music venues around the country and commented that many towns have lost clubs.

She has also advocated for more even-handed funding from DCMS and Arts Council England so that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds get access and opportunities.

Nandy has been MP for Wigan since 2010 and is one of the first female Asian MPs. In the last few days, she has noted the sporting achievements of the England men’s football team and F1 driver Lewis Hamilton and the passing of rugby league player and campaigner Rob Burrow.

Speaking at an Advertising Association event, political journalist Steve Richards noted that Nandy has been ushered into the role quickly and will not have had much of a chance to think about it.

He said: "She hasn't got a great deal of interest in this area... However, she is one of the more intelligent, thoughtful and receptive figures. She can be frivolous at times but has the capacity to communicate."

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