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Arts: West Midlands

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 17 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps the Government have taken to support the creative industries in the West Midlands since 1997. (179149)

[holding answer 15 January 2008]: My Department has sought to co-ordinate action across government in support of the creative industries. In November 2005, we established the Creative Economy Programme which brought together DCMS, DTI (as it then was), industry representatives and Government bodies such as the Arts Council, the UK Film Council and the Design Council. We will shortly launch a strategy document for the creative industries which will set out the challenges that Government and industry will need to address in order to sustain and grow this vitally important sector of the economy.

Key agencies in the West Midlands with responsibility for growing the creative industries, including the Regional Development Agency Advantage West Midlands, Culture West Midlands, Business Link, the Learning and Skills Council, Arts Council England, Screen West Midlands and Skillset, have come together to form the Creative Industries Strategy Group. This group is developing a regional “Creative Industries Manifesto”, which will help raise the profile of the sector nationally and internationally; it will also work to bring key initiatives to the region, such as national centres of excellence or major events.

In addition, since 1997, funding from the European Regional Development Fund has supported a number of projects, including business support and venture capital projects, related to the development of the creative industries in the region. Projects in the 2000-06 Objective 2 Programme have included the establishment of the Advantage Creative Fund (£1.6 million), Business Support for Creative Industries in Birmingham (£2.5 million) and the West Midlands Media Production Fund (£3.7 million).