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Creative Industries Council

Volume 529: debated on Thursday 16 June 2011

5. What steps the creative industries council will take to help increase employment and growth in the creative industries. (59862)

6. What steps the creative industries council will take to help increase employment and growth in the creative industries. (59863)

7. What steps the creative industries council will take to help increase employment and growth in the creative industries. (59864)

The creative industries council will provide a forum for the creative industries and the Government to engage in a joined-up way. Members will instigate industry-led approaches to boosting the growth and competitiveness of the creative industries, with the Government facilitating and removing barriers where appropriate.

Bristol is to be home to one of the new local enterprise zones announced in the Budget, with a focus on the creative industries. Will the creative industries council be able to offer practical assistance to make the zone a success, or will it be just a talking shop at the national level? Will it deliver results on the ground?

I was lucky enough to visit Bristol recently, where the astonishing success of the creative industries is a wonder to behold. We certainly do not want the creative industries council to be a talking shop, which is why we set up four or five work streams, which I hope will be relevant to businesses in Bristol.

UK Music has established that the music industry employs nearly 100,000 people and generates almost £5 billion a year for the UK economy. However, one of the biggest problems for up-and-coming musicians is in obtaining credit or finance from the banks. Can the Minister assure the House that the work of the creative industries council will lead to an increase in the amount of capital available for young musicians?

I will certainly take the hon. Gentleman’s point on board. I recently met important industry figures Sandie Shaw and Brian Message, the manager of Radiohead, to discuss with a specific bank making capital available to musicians. I hope that other banks will take note of that initiative.

The Minister is aware of the devastating impact of the cuts agenda on the cultural sector through lost economic benefit. However, is he aware of the importance of innovations that are directly attributable to music sales, such as X-ray computed tomography—or CT scanners, as they are more commonly known—which were developed by EMI primarily through sales of Beatles records, by four lads who shook the world? Without leadership, is the Minister not putting similar investment opportunities at risk?

I am aware of the huge cultural vibrancy of this country, which is why I will travel to Liverpool later this month to open the Magritte exhibition at Tate Liverpool. Liverpool really is a vibrant and creative city. Returning to the earlier question about the Digital Economy Act 2010, the reason we are so keen to press ahead with it is so that our creative industries can earn money from the content that they create.

Does my hon. Friend agree that one of the key determinants of the success of the creative industries is the strong protection of intellectual property? Is he considering following the example of President Obama and appointing a champion for intellectual property, which would send that signal? Does he agree that what would send precisely the wrong signal is any suggestion from local authorities that the enforcement of actions against pirate or counterfeit goods by trading standards officers should not be seen as a priority?

I met President Obama’s copyright tsar, Victoria Espinel, when she was in this country last week. We had a meeting with the IP crime group, which is very effectively taking forward the enforcement of measures to tackle IP crime. The Minister, Baroness Wilcox, is also an extremely effective champion of the IP industry.

The creative industries in the UK are world leaders but, to continue that trend, we need to ensure that the courses that are studied in our higher and further education establishments are truly robust. Will the Minister pledge to work with the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to ensure that those courses are fully recognised and really worth while?

In an earlier answer, I praised Bournemouth university. One of the first things that I did as a Minister was to commission the Livingstone-Hope report on skills in the video games industry to ensure that our courses were fit for purpose, and I should like to take this opportunity to congratulate Sir Alex Hope on his well-deserved OBE for that work.

The Government make available about £2 billion to British banks under the enterprise finance guarantee scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises in the creative industries. Music industry representatives have told me that only two music companies have been successful in raising loan finance via the EFG scheme. One very experienced music manager was successful only on his ninth attempt. What is the Minister going to do to improve the scheme and to support our music industry?

I suspect that the hon. Lady met the same people at the meeting that I referred to earlier. I absolutely understand the issue to which she is referring, and I want to continue to work with the banks to try to educate them on how the enterprise finance guarantee scheme can be used to support the music industry. Important changes in the Budget, such as the enterprise investment scheme, will also help our creative industries.