Labour will boost creative jobs in Essex, pledging with a Labour government “the arts will be for everyone, everywhere”

Group photo of Labour MP, Cllr and ECC staff in Purfleet on Thames design workshop.

On Tuesday 26th March Labour announced plans to ensure the economic benefits of the creative industries are felt in every part of the UK, after this month announcing that the next Labour government will work with industry on an ‘Access to the Arts’ plan.

Jonathan Reynolds, Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Trade visited High House Production Park in Purfleet-on-Thams to visit the Royal Opera Houses scenery and costume design workshops with Jen Craft, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Thurrock. They were joined by Cllr John Kent, Leader of the Opposition on Thurrock Council and representatives from the Essex Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
They saw the positive impact the creative industries have on the local economy.

Labour has committed to ensuring that creative opportunities are open to people regardless of their background. The creative industries employ 181,000 in the East of England making up 3.5% of the region’s economy.

Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds MP said:

“Creativity is not the preserve of a certain type of person, or of one place in our country. Everyone deserves the opportunity to explore their talent and passion and get one of the many great jobs on offer in this sector.

“It is wonderful to see first-hand the talent and creativity of people in Thurrock, building and designing sets that will be admired by thousands of theatre goers. Under Labour a job in the creative sector will be a path that every child has at their feet no matter where in the country they live.”

Opened in 2010, the Royal Opera House has scenery and costume workshops on their site in Purfleet-on-Thames, Thurrock and also host a training centre for students at a local college.

The Royal Opera House contributed £240m to the UK economy in 2022/23 and their charitable status means their income is reinvested into their creative output.

Labour Parliamentary candidate Jen Craft said:

“Having the Royal Opera House here in Thurrock provides us with great opportunities that we need to make more of for the benefit of all in our community.

“They provide many great apprenticeships and chances for our young people but, like them, I am determined to do more. If elected, I will work closely with organisations like the Royal Opera House to make the most of our potential. For too long Thurrock has been left behind and I am determined to ensure that we make more of the skills and talent in our community to give people here the future they deserve.”

Denise Rossiter, Chief Executive of Essex Chamber of Commerce said:

“We welcome Labour’s commitment to the creative economy and their acknowledgement that Essex businesses faces skills shortages and we continue to call for all parties to commit to Local Skills Improvement Plans for the long-term.”

Joanne Giles, Director of the Local Skills Improvement Plan for Essex, Southend on Sea and Thurrock said:

“The skills agenda in Essex is vibrant, cohesion is building as authorities are aligning activity to the priorities outlined in the plan.

“In 2023, the creative industries in Great Britain were valued at £115.9 billion, contributing nearly 6% to the British economy. This sector also employed 2.3 million people, reflecting its significant impact not only economically but also in terms of employment and international standing.

“Which is why in Essex bringing together sector specialist to discuss the skills landscape and what needs to be prioritised to ensure we are attracting and retaining talent and enabling areas of further development to be highlighted and funded

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