Ed Sheeran has warned that cuts to arts and music education programmes could deter young people from following his path to global success.
In a rare foray into the political arena, the top-selling musician backed a report which sets out the £10bn contribution that the creative industries make to the UK economy.
Published by the Creative Industries Federation and Arts Council England, the report warns that the “talent pipeline” could be blocked if investment in education is subject to more cuts.
Sheeran said: “If we don’t support funding for art, drama and music for young people then you just won’t have any home-grown talent at all.”
“Without funded programmes and opportunities, a massive number of talented young people just won’t have the chance to discover what they’re capable of or develop their skills.”
The singer, who has sold 150m records and is poised to become a billionaire before he turns 30, added: “The music industry in England is one of the most powerful things in the world and one of Britain’s best and most lucrative exports.”
“It just makes no sense not to support it.”
Opportunities for Sheeran
Sheeran was given the chance to hone his songwriting skills at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Surrey. He also took an Artist Development course at an Access To Music training college.
Awarded an MBE for his services to music and charity, Sheeran, 28, contributes to the report, titled “How public investment in the arts generates economic value across the creative industries and beyond”, alongside business leaders from the film, television and advertising industries.
Alan Bishop, Creative Industries Federation chief executive, said: “The success of Britain’s creative industries is now much admired. Their dynamic growth and massive contribution to the economy are widely appreciated. But the reasons for that success seem to be less well understood.”
“Some put it down to exceptional and brave commercial investment. In fact, the main explanation for that success was the creation of an extraordinary talent pool, largely as a result of public funding.”
The report adds that Fleabag and Killing Eve creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge worked with several subsidised organisations and venues before launching her hit shows.
In film, Idris Elba, Olivia Colman and Daniel Kaluuya are among the stars to have trained and developed their craft through subsidised programmes and courses.