There has been good progress since August 2005 to ensure that the value of arts and culture is recognised in:
(a) Community Relations: £3.3 million new funding has been secured for investment in local community projects under the Arts Council’s Re-imaging Communities programme.
(b) Revenue Raised: in 2003, the Creative Industries in Northern Ireland generated an estimated turnover of £900 million1. The Strategic Investment Board has an indicative allocation of £20 million for arts infrastructure in the Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland (2005-15) and a further £3 million has been secured from the Integrated Development Fund.
(c) Job Creation: In 2003 employment in the Creative Industries in Northern Ireland was estimated to be 33,5001. This is the most recent regional estimate available.
(d) Education System: Preparations are on-going for the roll-out of the new statutory curriculum from September 2007 and this will have the use of critical and creative thinking skills at its core. In addition, DCAL in partnership with DE has funded specific initiatives such as the Creative Youth Partnerships and Creative Learning Centres providing new learning opportunities for children and young people through arts and digital media.
DCAL Research and Statistics Branch
I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply given today to question 97282 and would add that the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure has been active in encouraging commitment in the sector through involvement in a range of initiatives and events including:
Craft NI—established as the lead organisation for the development of contemporary craft and applied arts sector in Northern Ireland;
Culture NI—a website publicising the range of art and cultural activities in Northern Ireland;
Arts and Business—an organisation that helps to build partnerships between businesses and arts organisations and practitioners;
Shifting Brilliances—a major conference aimed at increasing the level of network television drama production in Northern Ireland held in October 2006;
Urban Alchemy Conference—focusing on the transforming power of art and architecture held in October 2006;
Arts and Culture Stakeholders meeting in the North West—to explore the potential for using arts and culture as a catalyst for regeneration held in April 2006