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Over 250 British stars join the campaign to remain in the EU


30 May 2016


Languages & Culture
UK in Europe

Benedict Cumberbatch, Helena Bonham Carter and Patrick Stewart are amongst the 282 leading cultural figures who have signed an open letter supporting the campaign to keep the UK in the EU. The letter, signed by influential names working across film, music, theatre, literature, dance, design, the arts and fashion has been welcomed by Labour MEP’s.

The signatories stress the important role the EU has played in funding and promoting the UK’s creative industries across the globe:

“From the smallest gallery to the biggest blockbuster, many of us have worked on projects that would never have happened without vital EU funding or by collaborating across borders…From the Bard to Bowie, British creativity inspires and influences the rest of the world. We believe that being part of the EU bolsters Britain’s leading role on the world stage.”

The EU will invest €1.4 billion across the creative and cultural sectors between 2014-2020 through the celebrated Creative Europe programme. More than half of that budget is allocated to the MEDIA strand which supports film, television, new media and the growing video games sector. Notable projects to receive funding include the British-made film ‘Slumdog Millionaire” directed by Danny Boyle, another signatory of the letter; the project secured €1.3 million to help the distribution of the Oscar-winning film. The British made global box-office hit ‘The Kings Speech’ was also awarded more than €1 million to help the picture reach a wider European audience.

European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) continues to make capital investment available to arts organisations operating outside London; the Liverpool Everyman and The Sage Gateshead have each received considerable ERDF awards to support their redevelopment and enhance the cultural offering available to local communities. Many education and outreach programmes also benefit from access to the €80 billion innovation fund, Horizon 2020.

56% of the UK’s cultural sector exports go directly to the EU, so it’s unsurprising that prominent creative business leaders like Universal Music UK (representing Amy Winehouse, Elton John, Sam Smith), Working Title Films (Les Miserables, The Theory of Everything, The Danish Girl) and Penguin Random House (50 Shades of Grey) have also signed the letter. The industry is sending out a clear message: it needs Britain to remain in the EU to shape future trade deals and ensure the Digital Single Market strategy works in the best interest of British creators and consumers alike.

Julie Ward MEP, the Labour Party spokesperson for Culture and Education at the European Parliament responded to the letter:

“The creative sector has added yet another compelling voice to the economic argument for a vote for Britain to remain in the EU. But more importantly, the cultural sector has reminded all of us that this referendum is about so much more than economics. Culture and the arts have always played an important role in the European project, bringing people together across borders to celebrate humanity, explore the more complex questions we each face in life and promote health and wellbeing.”

The letter came out in the same week that the Creative Industries Federation (CIF) revealed that 96% of its industry members wanted Britain to remain in the EU and 300 prominent historians sent a letter to the Guardian to remind readers about the influential role the UK plays in Europe.