Arts community in Leeds angry at Sunak’s suggestion to retrain

Members of the design sector within the creative industry express their frustration at government’s lack of support

Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed his Winter Economy Plan designed to project the devastating amount of job losses at the hands of Covid-19. The interview  in which Sunak outlined his proposals was met by a huge backlash across the media, with many inferring Sunak’s message to be, if you are part of the creative industry, to retrain and adapt.

Joe Harris, a recent graduate from Leeds Arts University, shares how as a creative and an individual identifying within the LGBTQ+ community, their art form is paramount to their own personal expression and wellbeing. “The lockdown period for me was a massive creative release of so much emotion and energy … I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t been able to creatively or visually express that”.

Melissa Kennedy – an undergraduate graphic design student – also shared her response to Sunak’s comments stating, “It shocked me as a student in an architecture degree that I may not have a career waiting for me at the end.”

There is a clear mutual agreement amongst those within the arts that Sunak’s comments displayed ignorance and a lack of appreciation for the benefits of the industry. This is echoed through Harris’ comments, “They don’t realise that creatives directly inform a lot of high ranking financial positions – they wouldn’t be able to communicate what they do without different outlets within the creative umbrella”.

Statistics detailing employment in the creative economy from 2012 show the total jobs of people employed amount to 2,550,000.

Students in Leeds share how the statement made by the Chancellor affects their attitude towards the government

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