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Arts and Creative Industries

Volume 564: debated on Wednesday 19 June 2013

I beg to move,

That this House notes the importance to the UK of the arts and creative industries, with art and culture enriching the lives of individuals, reinforcing a sense of local community, and being vital to the economy, generating more than £36 billion a year and employing 1.5 million people; calls on the Government actively to support the arts by developing a strategy for the arts and creative industries; believes that this should include putting creativity at the heart of education, ensuring that creative industries have access to finance and funding, protecting intellectual property, supporting the arts and creative industries, including museums and galleries, in all nations and regions of the country, not just London, and attracting inward investment and providing support for exports; recognises that it is not only right in principle that the arts should be for everyone but that the arts thrive when they draw on the pool of talent of young people from every part of the country and all walks of life; and believes that a strong Department for Culture, Media and Sport with a Secretary of State standing up for the arts is crucial.

This debate is an opportunity for the whole House to express support for our arts and creative industries and to assert their great importance to this country. In this House, we often debate health, education and the economy, and we should recognise that the arts contribute to all of those. It is right too that we talk about the intrinsic value of the arts—how they move us and challenge us, and the great joy that arts and culture bring to our lives. Yes, the arts make money for this country, but they are never just a commodity. From the parents watching a school play to the nation watching the Olympic ceremony, the arts enrich our lives and all our communities. Therefore, we should have no hesitation in standing up for them and declaring their importance to individuals, communities and our economy.

We are a country that produces some of the greatest creativity on the planet, whether it is music, fashion, film, theatre, broadcasting, design, art, our libraries or our museums. Our cultural creativity is admired and envied around the world, and it was that belief that led the Labour party when it was in government to step up support for the arts, including massively strengthening the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, bringing in free entry to museums and galleries, and trebling the budget for the Arts Council. But let us be clear: public support for the arts is repaid over and over. For example, there was a £5,000 public subsidy to support the stage production of “The Woman in Black”. Since then, the production company has paid back more than £12 million in tax to the Treasury.

Public subsidy allows for the willingness of the arts to take risks, like the hugely successful “Matilda”, which the Royal Shakespeare company says would just not have been possible without public seedcorn funding. For some, subsidy has become a dirty word, but there is a false dichotomy between the public and the commercial. They are inextricably linked. Public investment gives the space for commercial success. The Arts Council calculates that for every pound of Government spending invested in the arts, the British economy gets £4 back.

Apart from the wider values that my right hon. and learned Friend has spoken about, in London alone the arts and cultural sector generates 400,000 jobs and returns £18 billion to the economy. Does she therefore share my disappointment that Westminster city council, at the heart of the west end, has chosen to cut its entire arts and culture budget, leaving it the only local authority in Britain with no targeted arts support at all?

I absolutely agree. For Westminster city council to make cuts of 100% is dangerously like killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Does my right hon. and learned Friend accept that in the west midlands alone the regional theatres contribute around £264 million to the economy and that it is therefore not just a question of culture, but of economic development in the regions, which has to be underpinned by the cultural contribution?

Following what my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Ms Stuart) just said, I am sure that my right hon. and learned Friend will be aware that the west midlands is famous for its arts. Importantly, the cuts currently being made to subsidies are affecting the arts, particularly the Belgrade theatre in Coventry, where many famous artists started out.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. That is why I will be in Coventry tomorrow—I will say more about that later—working with councillors to ensure we do what we can to protect the arts in this difficult time.

Public money provides the basis of the mixed economy that supports the arts. It provides the foundation on which philanthropy and other funding schemes can then build. We should recognise the role of the arts in regeneration, as in my constituency of Camberwell and Peckham. Joe Anderson, the mayor of Liverpool, has said that the arts have been the rocket fuel for his city’s economy. The leader of Birmingham city council, Sir Albert Bore, has said that without the arts and culture, our cities would be deserts. The same is true across the country.

Our belief is that the arts are a public policy imperative because they must be for everyone. Without the active support of public policy, there is a real danger that the arts could become the privilege of the few. That is wrong in principle, because the arts and culture must be a right for all. It is also wrong in practice, because creativity needs to draw on the widest pool of talent. Talent is everywhere in this country, in people from all walks of life. Look at Lee Hall’s “Billy Elliot”, Opera North and Bournemouth symphony orchestra. We can all see the massive success stories. One need only look around at any award ceremony in the world; Britain’s creativity is always right up there in lights. While we celebrate that success, we must not let it mask the reality that the arts are facing a difficult time, especially smaller organisations and those outside London.

My right hon. and learned Friend will be aware of the phenomenal impact the arts and the creative sector have had in my constituency and across east London, but one of the major challenges has been the sale of Henry Moore’s sculpture, Draped Seated Woman. Up and down the country, local authorities are selling public works of art. One of the big worries is that by the end of this Session we will be not only economically bankrupt, but culturally bankrupt, and the Government need to address that issue more generally, rather than specifically.

I absolutely agree. It is incredibly short-sighted, because once something is sold, it can never be regained. In relation to my hon. Friend’s borough of Tower Hamlets and the other east London boroughs, I pay tribute to the Barbican for the outreach work it does with school children in east London. While the headlines trumpet our success, behind the scenes there is an arts emergency, especially in the regions.

The right hon. and learned Lady has referred repeatedly to the regions, but does she not agree that in places such as Hampshire there are fantastic arts organisations, such as the Test Valley Arts Foundation, doing exactly what she has highlighted: outreaching to young people and community groups?

Absolutely, and I pay tribute to those small community organisations, whether they are in Hastings or the hon. Lady’s constituency. Perhaps she will have an opportunity to speak about the importance of the arts in her community, because we know that there is genuine support across the House for arts and creativity, and we want to be able to show that support.

The Arts Council, which provides funds for the arts all across the country, has already been cut by 35%, and it is expecting even more cuts. Local government are having their budgets slashed by a third. That is really important, because for most arts organisations, especially those outside London, most public funding comes not from central Government, but from local government.

My right hon. and learned Friend makes a very important point. So many of our arts institutions, such as Manchester’s Hallé orchestra and the Manchester Camerata, which do fantastic work with local schools in my constituency, including Denton community college, get a large amount of their funding from the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, which is made up of the 10 councils around Greater Manchester. Sadly that is just no longer sustainable, given the cuts that the Government have forced on those councils.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The truth is that outside London it is much more difficult for such organisations to get philanthropic support. The reality is that there is a very uneven distribution of philanthropy. I pay tribute to him for his support for the arts, and also to Sir Richard Leese and Manchester city council for the important support they give the arts. Local authorities are struggling.

I am sure that my right hon. and learned Friend will want to congratulate Swansea on reaching the shortlist to be city of culture in 2017. In Swansea and elsewhere we should be aware of the enormous growth of tourism from China, India and other developing countries. We should invest in the infrastructure of culture and the arts and take advantage of more and more visitors, rather than cutting them.

Indeed, and I hope to say something about the importance of our work overseas to highlight our arts. In the meantime, I add my congratulations to Swansea bay on being shortlisted for city of culture in 2017, and I also congratulate Leicester, Hull and Dundee.

Even in such difficult times for local authorities, when they are having to grapple with how to care for the elderly and protect vulnerable people, it is important that they do all they can to support the arts, as is happening in Manchester, which is protecting the arts to protect its future success as a city.

The right hon. and learned Lady mentioned the play “Matilda”. She will know that in Stratford-on-Avon the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Orchestra of the Swan are all important cultural assets. She talks about local authorities. Of course, the average spend of a local authority is about £385,000, yet some authorities, such as Newcastle city council, have £50 million in reserves. The shadow Chancellor has already called for almost £45 billion of extra borrowing and spending. Will she confirm whether any of that money would go towards the arts under a Labour Administration?

The shadow Chancellor has said that we have to invest in jobs and growth in the future, and I think the hon. Gentleman would agree that future jobs will come from the creative industry as well as from investments in infrastructure. I pay tribute to him for his support for the arts and to the Royal Shakespeare Company in his constituency.

To support councillors across the country who are facing such difficult choices, we have set up a network of local councillors to come together to discuss the challenges facing them and the importance of the arts in local communities and to share best practice. There are many things that local authorities can do, and are doing, to support the arts, over and above the provision of public money, for example sharing back-office functions, granting licences and offering public spaces for arts events. I am delighted that tomorrow I will be in Coventry’s transport museum meeting our creative councillors network from across the country. We are thinking in imaginative and innovative way about how to help the arts, even in these difficult times.

The right hon. and learned Lady is right that it is a question of getting priorities right for local authorities. Does she think that rather than giving £250,000 a year to the trade unions in subsidies, Newcastle city council should invest that money in the arts instead?

The hon. Gentleman should look at Newcastle city council’s innovative culture fund, which not only shows its backing for the arts but provides a platform for bringing in outside commercial and philanthropic investment. We need to support and pay tribute to just such innovative thinking.

I know that my right hon. and learned Friend is a bit of an angel herself, but does she recognise that the Angel of the North has not just become a world icon, but helped to drive tens of millions of pounds of investment in the north-east? Its legacy is now very much in danger.

I absolutely agree. The Angel of the North is not just a proud landmark for the north; the whole country admires it. We wish we had an angel of similar height and scale in Peckham.

The truth is that if we want the arts to thrive in future, they need to survive now. It takes years to build them up, but they can be destroyed at the stroke of a pen. The situation is so difficult that we have to forge a survival strategy for the arts. That is work for a broad-ranging coalition, including the Arts Council, local government, the arts community and central Government—not just the Department for Culture, Media and Sport but, crucially, the Department for Education, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Treasury and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The Culture Secretary must take the lead and stand up for culture—the clue is in her title. That means not letting the Communities and Local Government Secretary squash arts in the regions, not letting the Business, Innovation and Skills Secretary slope off to Europe to water down copyright and not letting the Education Secretary sweep creativity out of the curriculum.

Does the right hon. and learned Lady share my concern about the uncertainty over funding for S4C, the Welsh language television channel? BBC funding is guaranteed until 2017, but Department for Culture, Media and Sport funding may disappear in 2015.

I do share that concern. I recognise the umbrella and the opportunity for many independent producers that the channel provides.

My right hon. and learned Friend is making an important point about survival. Does she agree that, although the economic case for the arts is well made, in the regions we also need our identities to survive? That is what local authorities, in partnership with the Government, should be able to do through the arts. In the city region of Merseyside where I grew up, we did not have much but we did have the Everyman theatre and Walker art gallery, which meant so much to our identity. That is exactly the kind of survival that we need right now.

I absolutely agree. The spark that was lit in my hon. Friend is carried through to her support for the arts in her constituency to this day.

The Culture Secretary should be working with the arts and creative industries to develop a clear, confident strategy and make sure that it is delivered. We must be sure that the opportunities are there for young people to experience and participate in the arts—at school, at college and through apprenticeships—so that they can make their way into earning their livings in the arts.

On the point about schools, does my right hon. and learned Friend share an anxiety of mine? On 28 February 2012, the Government announced that they would immediately establish a new ministerial board between the Culture and Education Departments and immediately produce a cultural education strategy, and we have not yet seen either.

We have yet to see those, but we have seen a fall in the number of school pupils taking exams in creative subjects. There has also been a fall in the number of students applying to do creative subjects at university.

We must be sure that artists and arts organisations have the right infrastructure for funding, which includes a mix of public subsidy, philanthropy and other innovative sources such as crowd funding.

I have already given way to the hon. Gentleman, so I will carry on.

Britain’s creative talent is a precious natural resource and must be protected, so the Government must get off the fence and rigorously enforce intellectual property rights. The arts situation is different outside London from how it is here in the capital, so there needs to be a specific, separate focus on the English regions, Scotland and Wales. [Interruption.] Indeed, support for tax credits is important across Scotland and Wales as well. [Interruption.] There are a number of arts organisations, such as the BBC, which are important in the arts in Scotland and Wales as well as in England. The Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the hon. Member for Wantage (Mr Vaizey) ought to know that.

British creativity is recognised all around the world, so we must have co-ordinated work that includes BIS, UK Trade & Investment, the Foreign Office and the British Council to showcase the best of British. Finally, running through any culture strategy must be a fundamental principle: the arts must be a right for everyone, not the preserve of a privileged elite. That is not only important in principle; to carry on as world leaders, we need to continue to draw on the widest possible pool of talent.

I am grateful for my right hon. and learned Friend’s steadfast and continuing support for Welsh language broadcasting by S4C. Does she not agree that the arts are extremely important for international and community cohesion? The Llangollen international musical eisteddfod in my constituency was set up at the end of the second world war, to bring nations and cultures together. That is another vital facet of the arts.

Absolutely. One of the things that is so distinctive and admirable about Wales is its people’s love of culture and the eisteddfod tradition. I pay tribute to that.

We cannot accept the Government amendment. Although it details some of the important work that the Department is doing, it is complacent and totally out of touch with what is happening on the ground. It asks us to welcome

“the continued strong lead given by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport”,

but the truth is that no one in the arts thinks that such a lead is being given. It is what the arts need, but not what they have.

A heavy responsibility falls on the Secretary of State. This is a difficult time for the arts, which is why at this point it would be disastrous to dismantle the Department. Britain’s arts and creative industries are important for our future. They must have unequivocal backing from the Government and a strong Secretary of State with a seat at the Cabinet table. I look forward to speeches from hon. Members on both sides of the House in support of the arts and I call on them to stand up for the arts and vote for the Opposition motion.

I beg to move an amendment, to leave out from “House” to end and add:

“welcomes the Government’s support for the arts and creative industries; notes the increase in Lottery funding for the arts which will mean that some £3 billion will be provided for the arts from the National Lottery and in Grant in Aid over the lifetime of the present Parliament; notes that there has been further support for the arts from the Government, including the introduction of lifetime giving, catalyst funding and the maintenance of free admission to the UK’s national museums; welcomes the first ever national music plan for education, and looks forward to the imminent publication of the national cultural plan for education; further notes the Government’s support for the creative industries, including tax credits for film, television and animation; looks forward to the introduction of a tax credit for video games; notes the establishment of a Creative Industries Council; and welcomes the continued strong lead given by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in these areas.”.

I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to debate such an important subject. As all Members know, the arts are one of Britain’s crown jewels. We are known across the world for our cultural and creative prowess.

We heard a lot of warm words from the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman), but she was a bit short on policies. A closer reading of the Opposition motion shows, all too clearly, that the Opposition have not kept up to date with the work that the Government have been doing for the past three years in supporting this vital sector.

Britain is already a world leader in the arts and the creative industries, and I want to give the right hon. and learned Lady and all Members the opportunity to show their positive support for what has already been achieved. I hope that she will be able to support the Government’s amendment.

The country undoubtedly faces difficult economic times. As I think Labour now accepts, that calls for discipline in public spending. However, the right hon. and learned Lady sounded as if she was calling for more spending. What is it—more spending or iron discipline? I am still not sure.

The motion mentions leadership. Since the 2010 general election, the Department has taken on more responsibilities, including, notably, telecoms, so the creative industries are not the only ones looking to the Department for leadership. Will the Secretary of State therefore categorically confirm that, given all the planned cuts, the Department will still be in existence at the next general election in 2015?

Yes, and I think that the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham would be able to elaborate on that and say that she has heard that from the Prime Minister himself.

The House should be focusing on the important issue of the future of our creative industries. I gently suggest that if the right hon. and learned Lady and other Opposition Members looked a little closer, they would see that the Government have increased lottery funding to the arts by £100 million a year; developed the catalyst fund to encourage organisations to build endowments for the first time; introduced lifetime giving and the cultural gift scheme; maintained free access to museums in the toughest economic climate for almost a century; launched a national music education plan; developed a national cultural education plan; introduced tax credits for film, television and animation; announced tax credits for video games; and established Creative England and the creative industries council. This is practical action that is being taken now, despite the difficult economic situation we face, to support the arts because of how important they are.

What the arts need is proper co-ordination. Some really good work is being done between the British Museum and Birmingham art galleries. It is not so much a question of money as of central co-ordination. It looks to me as though that co-ordination is about to be lost. Will the Secretary of State assure us that that is not the case?

The hon. Lady is right to raise the importance of co-ordination and regional funding. That is why we have put so much focus on it, particularly on the Arts Council’s work in the creative people and places programme, the strategic touring programme and grants for the arts. Hundreds of millions of pounds are going into the sorts of regional activities that many hon. Members have mentioned.

Will the Secretary of State remind the House of her splendid visit to Stroud on a cold February night, where she saw at first hand the Stroud valley art project and a number of other fantastic arts and crafts activities? That rams home the point that arts and crafts in my constituency are alive and well, with the support of this Government.

My hon. Friend raises a really important point. In his constituency I saw first hand how this commitment to the arts is being translated into industry and jobs in the heart of his constituency. That sort of relationship between the arts and the creative industries means that we have some of the very best creative industries in the world. As the recent survey of theatre workers by Creative & Cultural Skills demonstrated, the relationship between cultural organisations and the creative industries is fluid and vital, and underpins the £36 billion a year that the creative industries are worth.

May I take the right hon. Lady back to free entry to museums? There is chaos in the regions, because our excellent museums, such as the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, are fighting a rear-guard action against threatened 10% cuts. Tens of thousands of people are terribly worried—there is a campaign in the local paper—that Government cuts will force such excellent museums to close. Will the right hon. Lady clarify that not only will free entry to museums be maintained, but that there will be no swingeing cuts, which would cause our excellent museum to close?

I am sure the hon. Lady will have followed the settlement we have achieved for the arts and museum sector and that she will be delighted that there is absolutely no reason why such a closure should happen. A 5% reduction in funds will obviously be a challenge for the sector, but it has welcomed it and I hope the hon. Lady welcomes it, too.

Our cultural offer is intrinsic to our nation’s success in tourism: 40% of people who come to our country cite culture as the most important reason for visiting and eight out of 10 of our top visitor attractions are museums. Hon. Members from all parties know that this is not just a London story, as Liverpool can testify, having received almost 10 million extra visitors during its year as European city of culture.

The arts are, as the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham said so powerfully in her opening remarks, of immense social value, too. They define who we are and what we stand for as a nation. They also help us understand where we come from and they support and shape our communities.

Will the Secretary of State clarify that one of this Government’s first acts was to increase the amount of lottery funding for the arts? Am I correct in understanding that it was the Labour party that in 2004 cut the percentage from 20% to 16%?

My hon. Friend is, of course, right. That meant a significant reduction in lottery funding for the arts. I will come on to that in more detail in a moment.

It is for all the reasons that hon. Members have already raised in their interventions that I and my Department fought so hard to protect spending on the arts and culture during the recent spending round. Despite doing our bit as a Department and playing our part in tackling our crippling deficit, the reduction in the funding of the arts and museums in 2015-16 will be just 5%.

Given the happy news about the Department’s future survival, will the Secretary of State report on the prospect of DCMS funding for S4C after 2015?

The hon. Gentleman will know that there is a clear obligation to make sure that there is sufficient funding. I am aware of this issue and will talk to colleagues and, no doubt, the hon. Gentleman about it. He will know, however, that I am not able to give him any future details at the moment, because they are subject to the spending review.

In the context of the difficult financial climate, the settlement our Department has achieved clearly demonstrates the Government’s recognition of the economic and social value of culture. This is an important settlement for the arts in a very challenging spending review.

I would be interested to hear from those on the Opposition Front Bench—I think we would all be interested to hear this—whether or not they will commit to the same level of funding and spending, or will the arts be one of the areas covered by the shadow Chancellor’s iron discipline on public spending, or will the Opposition promise to increase spending on the arts? It is not clear what their polices are or where their funding would come from.

I will give way to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent South (Robert Flello) and then to my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Neil Carmichael).

I am grateful to the Secretary of State for giving way. She has mentioned regional theatre. Will she explain why it is that of the 696 organisations regularly funded through Arts Council England’s national portfolio programme, there is only one in the whole of Staffordshire, namely the New Vic in the neighbouring constituency, that of my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Paul Farrelly)? It does amazing and fantastic work, employs about 90 individuals and contributes nearly £12 million to the local economy, but why, out of the 696, is it the only one in the whole of Staffordshire?

The hon. Gentleman may or may not know that I was born in Staffordshire. I understand his desire to ensure that Staffordshire has strong cultural representation. The Arts Council funds 179 theatre organisations and groups. Those decisions are made at arm’s length from the Government by the Arts Council, which I am sure listens carefully to his remarks.

I had promised to give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud first, but then I will give way to the hon. Member for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart).

The investment the Government are providing for broadband in my constituency is a huge advantage to the creative industry, especially in areas beyond our towns, where people need access to broadband for their design and technology work. Does the Secretary of State feel inclined to commit to ensuring that broadband is provided for most of my constituents by the time of the general election?

Having visited my hon. Friend’s constituency and heard his constituents’ comments directly, I know how important the Government’s superfast broadband project is to such constituencies. It will ensure that not only our creative industries are supported, but cultural organisations, whether galleries or libraries. Broadband can support and help their work so much.

As well as managing the reductions in grant in aid I have mentioned, the Government have made important changes to the national lottery to ensure that arts and culture are properly supported, as my hon. Friend the Member for West Worcestershire (Harriett Baldwin) has said. As she pointed out, one of the first things this Government did was reverse Labour’s lottery cuts. In 1998, the Labour Government cut lottery support for the arts—their cuts took £600 million out of the sector. The coalition has restored the proportion the arts receive, meaning an extra £100 million goes to the arts each year. When the hon. Member for Barnsley Central (Dan Jarvis) responds to the debate for the Opposition, will he commit to maintaining the current proportion of lottery funding to the arts, or will Labour cut it again?

In the Secretary of State’s list of achievements she mentioned the announcement of the cultural education strategy. That happened 16 months ago. Where is it?

The hon. Lady will know that we have done an incredible amount in that area, whether for the Youth Dance Company or the other organisations that are part of the plan we are developing—[Interruption.] She will have heard the Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, my hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (Mr Vaizey), say from a sedentary position that further details will be announced next month.

Hon. Members on both sides of the House will want to know that the Government’s commitment to the arts will mean that more public money in cash terms will go to the Arts Council under this Government than under the previous one. Why, therefore, do the Opposition constantly posture about funding cuts rather than propose their own plans? It is no good the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham sitting there just criticising. People are listening to the debate, and want to know what she and her hon. Friends want to do differently. What do they want to do differently, and how will she fund it?

I thank the Secretary of State for coming down to Brighton and Hove to visit NCSOFT and others in the software industry, and the music industry in the Brighton Institute of Modern Music. Does she agree that the Government have done significant amounts for the software industry and the music industry? They have raised live licence numbers from 100 to 200—it will shortly be 500.

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend’s work on supporting those parts of the creative industries. It was fantastic to go along and speak to the students in his constituency who are doing so much to support the future of the music industry. We should applaud his work in that area.

The Government’s action means we can maintain spending on grants for the arts, which provide funding for 3,700 organisations up and down the country, and support the Arts Council’s £45 million touring programme, which is hugely valuable for the regions. The Arts Council announced just last week further touring grants of nearly £2 million. The Government’s action also means we can pump money into areas where the arts are under-represented, which the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent South mentioned. The Arts Council’s £37 million creative people and places fund will focus on parts of the country in which involvement in the arts is significantly below the national average.

I acknowledge some of the Secretary of State’s achievements, but is she satisfied that the distribution is fair? Does she believe that areas such as the midlands get a fair share of arts funding in relation to their populations?

The hon. Gentleman makes an important point. It is vital that we ensure that the money available goes to the places that need it most. The Arts Council, as an arm’s length body, makes those decisions independently of the Government. We must take into account the importance of ensuring that the money gets to those areas, and particularly to rural areas, which can find it difficult to have sustainable arts programmes.

I must declare an interest as chairman of the Northampton Theatres Trust, which has a £7.5 million turnover. We receive Arts Council funding, for which we are eternally grateful. We all love regional theatre and the culture that it brings to towns across the country. I know that the Arts Council is an arm’s length body, but why should it fund two national opera companies in London, when if it funded just one, there would be plenty of money for regional theatre across the country?

I understand my hon. Friend’s frustration, but the national institutions that are located in our capital city do much to support regional organisations both by supplying them with talented people and by training people from the regions. He makes the important point that regional culture, and theatre in particular, needs the right level of funding. I hope that he supports the work that we are doing to ensure that that happens.

Does my right hon. Friend recognise the input that the arts have in schools? In my constituency, the Orchestra of the Swan, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and, of course, the Royal Shakespeare Company do great work in schools. The RSC also developed “Matilda” over seven years with Arts Council funding, which has gone around the world, has won Tonys and Oliviers, and is a great British export.

My hon. Friend will know about the support that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education gives to the work of the Royal Shakespeare Company. My hon. Friend brings out the critical role that cultural organisations can have in underpinning the understanding of the arts and culture among the children of this country. That is important work.

If I may, I will make a tiny bit of progress before I take further interventions, because I know that a lot of Members want to speak in this debate.

The regional support that I have outlined illustrates how important we consider regional arts to be. I reinforced that point when I spoke recently at the British Museum. That is why the funding settlement that we have achieved is so important. It means that we can continue to fund projects in the Lake district, Leicester, Newcastle and Newquay.

The Government’s achievements do not stop at public funding. We have made great strides on philanthropy. We recognise that that is a way in which many organisations can diversify their funding streams. We have developed the catalyst scheme with the Arts Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has allocated £110 million to arts and heritage organisations in match funding, meaning that it will unlock at least as much again from private donors. We have simplified gift aid and introduced a reduced rate of inheritance tax for those who leave 10% or more of their estate to charity. We recently launched the cultural gifts scheme. I am sure that many hon. Members would like to join me in thanking the donors who already contribute almost £700 million to the arts and heritage sector every year. That support should not go unnoticed by this House.

We have been working closely with our colleagues in the Department for Education on cultural education plans. We have published the first ever national plan for music education, which has ring-fenced funding of £171 million up to 2015. Our national plan for cultural education will be launched next month, as the Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, my hon. Friend the Member for Wantage, said. Sadler’s Wells has already been selected to form the new national youth dance company. English Heritage is receiving £2.7 million from the Department for Education to establish heritage schools, which schoolchildren can visit to be inspired by our rich island story. Our 10 regional museums and schools partnerships have been awarded a total of £3.6 million funding until 2015 through the museums and schools programme.

I am grateful to the Secretary of State for being so generous with her time. Unfortunately, the Department for Education cut the creative partnerships programme for schools, which was a £30 million programme designed to get young people involved in creative and artistic activities. Was that not a great shame?

We are now putting more funding into cultural education through our work with the Arts Council. The hon. Gentleman should look at that before he draws too many conclusions about the effect that any changes will have on our schools. We have all agreed that cultural organisations in our communities do a huge amount, and no Member of this House would suggest otherwise.

Having worked in the creative industries for 17 years, I have first-hand experience of the importance of culture and the arts in supporting what I believe is a world-class sector, and the work we have done will help ensure that our creative industries stay world-beating. It is clear to me that a symbiotic relationship exists between culture and the arts and the creative industries, and that view is reinforced time and again when I go on regional visits, whether to Bury, Bristol or—as I did recently—to Brighton. It sings out loud and clear.

I thank the right hon. Lady for having visited Brighton and Hove and spent time looking at some companies in my constituency. Those businesses are rightly proud that our city has won £3.3 million of investment for ultrafast broadband, but they are worried about a potential story coming from Labour that about half the super-connected cities budget could be cut to concentrate on access in rural areas. Does she agree that the speed versus access debate is not helpful because both are essential for different reasons? We need basic internet access for social inclusion, but ultrafast capacity is essential if we are to enable our UK cities to be at the cutting edge of international creative and digital innovation.

The hon. Lady would be right to be deeply disappointed if anybody—let alone those on the Opposition Front Bench—suggested we should cut investment into one of this country’s most important current infrastructure projects. I join her in asking Labour Members to make their position clear on that issue in their later comments.

Of course the 5% cut is welcomed by the sector, but the right hon. Lady will recognise that it comes on top of 5% last year and 29% the year before. Is it not premature to paint a rosy picture when arts organisations are waiting for decisions by local authorities? I appeal to her in tone not to give the impression that all is rosy when we know that education programmes are being cut and that links to arts organisations are diminishing.

From his previous role, the right hon. Gentleman has a great deal of experience in dealing with the difficult choices that I and colleagues have to make. Equally, if he feels that the decisions the Government are making are not right, he must explain to the House what decisions his party would take and where the additional funding would come from. We are trying to take tough decisions fairly, and ensure that we encourage organisations to come and work together in new ways. Earlier, the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham mentioned budget cuts being an innovation. I like to talk plainly, and I acknowledge that we are in a difficult position economically. We are making tough decisions, but I think we are making them fairly.

We must recognise the importance of being transparent with people, and I was disappointed at the failure to recognise the importance of being straightforward in the recent intervention by the shadow Culture Minister, the hon. Member for Barnsley Central (Dan Jarvis), about the Labour council’s decision in Newcastle to cut funding. Indeed, it was suggested that the council would cut its entire arts budget last December. Perhaps if he had understood that point more clearly, the shadow Culture Minister would have instead suggested—my hon. Friend the Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Nadhim Zahawi) made this point—that the council dip into its £50 million of reserves, rather than waiting for his boss, the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham, to overrule him.

I am pleased that we have made huge strides in providing support for our creative industries, which have an enormous impact on our economy and up and down the country. In 2011 the Government formed the Creative Industries Council to help drive growth in the UK’s creative industries and ensure that the UK remains a global centre of excellence for those industries.

The right hon. Lady will know that the success of our creative industries, which she is right to applaud, depends on the firm foundations of intellectual property rights and copyright protections, so why is she not getting on with the Digital Economy Act 2010 and why is she pursuing copyright exceptions?

The hon. Gentleman will know that we inherited a difficult situation around the implementation of some of the provisions—provisions that were unfortunately rushed through by the previous Government and which we now have to deal with in practical reality—and we are working through them carefully.

Creative England, established in 2011, looks at investments in creative ideas, talent and businesses in film, television, games and the digital media. Along with the Creative Industries Council, it is an important way of sensibly supporting the creative industries. Our existing film tax relief has helped raise more than £1 billion in inward investment into British film, while additional tax reliefs targeted at animation, high-end television and video games were announced in last year’s Budget. These are all practical and tangible ways of helping to grow a successful creative industries sector in this country, underpinned by strong and world-leading cultural organisations.

On a point of clarification, the Secretary of State’s recent speech was interpreted to mean that she thought that the priority was continued public funding where there was a direct economic impact—in other words, that we should only support art that makes money. Will she place it on the record that that will not be the criterion for her Department’s allocation for funding, and that although the economic impact of the arts is great, there are many more benefits to arts funding?

Order. It might help, Secretary of State, if I could explain to the House that more than 30 Members wish to take part in this debate. There is already a severe time limit, and it will get even shorter at this rate. You have been incredibly generous, Secretary of State, but I wonder if I could encourage you to be a little less generous, so that we can get some Back Benchers in.

I thank you for your intervention, Madam Deputy Speaker, but I feel that I should give way to my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich South (Simon Wright); otherwise I will fall into his bad books.

Norwich University of the Arts in my constituency is creating a digital centre for innovation. It has come as a result of national funding and support from the new Anglia local enterprise partnership and, of course, of the world-class innovation shown by the university itself. Will the Secretary of State look at this model and how she can work with others in government to promote the best from our world-class universities and create jobs in our communities?

Of course, I will answer the question from the hon. Member for Bristol East (Kerry McCarthy). I just did not want my hon. Friend not to get the opportunity to talk as well. She is right to pick up on her point, but had she read my whole speech, rather than just an extract, she would have seen clearly that the Government absolutely recognise the intrinsic value of arts and culture. The point I was making—I think, very clearly—in that speech was that there was a powerful economic argument to be made as well. As somebody who has worked in the creative industries for almost 20 years, I know that having a strong culture and arts sector, as we do in this country, means that we can also have a strong creative industry, which has an economic benefit. That is the argument I have used—persuasively, I think—with the Treasury, and perhaps that is why we have achieved such a strong result for the sector.

On the intervention from my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich South, I would be delighted for the Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, my hon. Friend the Member for Wantage, to have a further discussion with him. I am sure he would be delighted to do that too.

I shall take your guidance, Madam Deputy Speaker, and make a few closing remarks. Our international reputation for arts and culture and the easy transfer of people between the cultural sector and the creative industries are based on the enormous talents of the people who work in the sector. We recognise that we need to invest for the future, however, and thanks to our sector skills councils, more than 3,500 people have either completed or are currently doing apprenticeships in the creative industries. The Arts Council’s creative employment programme will support up to 6,500 new apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships and paid internships across the sector, and the Government are investing up to £8 million each year over the next two years to support skills development in the UK digital content sector. That is important investment in people for the future. It is ensuring that our creative industries have the sort of skilled work force that we need to innovate and compete globally.

We work closely with UK Trade & Investment, the British Council and others to explore ways to promote creative industries globally, too. We are using the GREAT campaign to underpin not just those efforts, but our economic ambitions more generally. The arts and culture, including our museums and galleries, have a key role to play. They act as our flag bearers, helping to develop interest in Britain and allowing us to build the relationships that mean we can do the trade deals of tomorrow. It is this kind of relationship marketing that helps UKTI to fly the flag for British goods and services, and to attract the investment that will drive jobs and opportunities here at home. It opens doors for UK plc and makes it easier for businesses to export and to expand.

If we look at what is actually happening, rather than the rhetoric from the Opposition, we see huge success up and down the country. We see new libraries opening in Birmingham and Liverpool, new regional museums in Margate and Wakefield, and refurbished and regenerated theatres in Bristol and Liverpool. Today, my Department announced a shortlist of four cities that will go forward to compete to be UK city of culture in 2017. While I—I am sorry, but the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham does not announce these things—commiserate with the seven bidders that were not shortlisted, I congratulate all 11 for their ambition and the belief that they share with me that arts and culture are a powerful force for good socially and economically, both at home and abroad.

I take this opportunity to applaud those who lead the arts and cultural institutions in our country for their vision and hard work. Above all, I thank them for their passion and innovation, and for ensuring that Britain remains a pre-eminent cultural force that is well regarded and respected all around the world.

Are we all waiting to leave the Chamber? [Laughter.] I just thought that maybe hon. Members knew something that I did not. Given the shortage of time, it may be necessary to review the time limit and reduce it further, but we will start with a six-minute limit and see how we get on.

I am fortunate to represent the beautiful historic city of York. It is a vibrant centre for the arts, science, craft skills, technology and the creative industries. It is important to realise that they feed off each other—we cannot silo the arts away from science and think that the one does not affect the other. We have apprentice stonemasons being trained at York Minster and wood carvers. The York Glaziers Trust is restoring the biggest mediaeval work of art in the world, the great east window of York Minster, in a £30 million project. Exhibition designers have just installed the new York Minster Revealed exhibition in the undercroft below York Minster, which combines Roman remains with interactive computer-driven displays, so that people can imagine what life was like almost 2,000 years ago. We have software engineers who have designed some of the world’s most popular computer games. I could talk about all these things, but instead I want to talk about one thing only: the Science Museum Group, which includes the National Railway museum in York.

On 5 June, the director of the Science Museum Group, Ian Blatchford, said:

“If an additional 10% cut is made when the spending review is announced at the end of the month, there would be little choice other than to close one of our museums.”

Following that statement, I tabled two parliamentary questions to ask the Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the hon. Member for Wantage (Mr Vaizey) whether free admission to national museums would be retained—he answered yes, and I thank him for that—and whether sufficient funding would be made available to keep open all of the Science Museum Group’s museums. I got an equivocal answer at that time, but when I was on Radio York with the Minister yesterday morning, he gave a clear answer, saying that he believed sufficient funding was being made available to the Science Museum Group to keep all its museums open.

As my hon. Friend knows, Shildon in my constituency is home to one of the branches of the National Railway museum. It is immensely successful. Last year, it had 200,000 visitors, brought £6 million into the regional economy and trained 100 young people. Does he agree that, as railways made Britain great and that these are among the most popular of our national museums, free entry is absolutely essential?

It is absolutely essential.

I take it that the Minister’s comment on the radio in Yorkshire yesterday applied to all the sites—to Shildon as well as to the York branch of the National Railway museum.

I also tabled a parliamentary question to ask about the Government’s funding for the Science Museum Group. The Minister replied yesterday, for which I am grateful. He told me that if the funding were pooled for the Science museum, which includes the York, Shildon and Bradford museums, the Museum for Science and Industry in Manchester, which was funded separately until recently, and the National Coal Mining museum, one would see that the total had fallen from £48.25 million in 2009-10 to £42.25 million this year. That is a reduction of more than 15% after inflation is taken into account.

We are told that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport secured a reduction of only 5% in its funding settlement. If the Science museum received a further cut of 5%, its structural deficit would increase from about £2 million a year to £4 million a year. Nothing has been said yet about the capital funding of between £2 million and £2.5 million. If that is not provided, the deficit will of course increase further, because revenue money would have to be used to repair the roof of the museum and for other capital works. If the Science Museum Group does not receive capital money in addition, the deficit will rise and, even though the doors of the museums will stay open, the greater the deficit, the less money there will be for preserving and conserving their artefacts, for research, for public education and outreach and for collecting new assets. It is odd that a Conservative Government should be doing significantly less to conserve our national heritage than was being done before. We face the real danger of our museums being hollowed out. It is not just me saying that; the directors of our national museums are saying it, too.

Our museums, including the National Railway museum, have some of the most valuable artefacts in the world. We have George Stephenson’s original engineering drawings for the Rocket. We have the Mallard, which won the world speed record for a steam locomotive 75 years ago. This year, the museum has assembled the other five remaining Gresley class locomotives in York, probably for the first and last time in history. I once took the US Senator Paul Sarbanes, who is a bit of a railway enthusiast, to the National Railway museum in York. He represented the state of Maryland, which includes Baltimore, home of the US’s biggest railway museum, but he was completely knocked out by our museum. It is in a class of its own, internationally.

The artefacts in our national museums in Bradford, Manchester, South Kensington, York and Shildon are some of the most important and valuable cultural assets in the world. They are like fantastic flowers in a garden. I put it to the Secretary of State that if we do not keep feeding their roots, those flowers will wither and die. There is a danger that, by taking millions and millions out of those museums each year, they will no longer have the resources to keep their collections up to date, conserved and available to the public, now and for future generations.

The Science Museum Group attracts 5 million visitors a year—2 million of whom visit the northern museums—and another 20 million visitors online. It has a diverse range of visitors, with more black and minority ethnic visitors than any other national museum and more from lower socio-economic groups. Also, 60% of its visitors are from outside London and the south-east. The northern museums are not regional museums; they are national and international institutions. The majority of people visiting the National Railway museum in my constituency come from outside Yorkshire and the north of England.

If the Government want to promote growth, they need to inspire more young people to take an interest in engineering, science and technology, which is what the Science Museums Group does. It is no accident that my son, now a railway engineer, was a frequent visitor to science museums in his youth. The Government need to keep these museums alive, and I beg that they do just that.

I very much welcome this opportunity to debate the arts and creative industries. Although I of course support the amendment in the name of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, in the spirit of consensus that the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport always tries to achieve, I have to say that I can find nothing in the motion tabled by the Leader of the Opposition that I disagree with.

As a believer in free markets, I am not normally a supporter of public subsidy. However, I am convinced of the benefits of public subsidy in the case of the arts—not just the economic benefits, which the Secretary of State quite rightly spelt out in her speech. The arts are hugely important to people’s quality of life in this country, as the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman) said, and many other benefits flow from that in education, health, community cohesion and so much more.

Under the previous Government, the arts enjoyed years of plenty; under this Government, we are facing lean years for the arts. That is absolutely inevitable. This Government have the higher priority of trying to clear up the enormous mountain of borrowing and debt that we inherited, and it would be wrong to exclude the arts from having to play a part in that. However, when we on the Select Committee looked at funding of the arts immediately after the election, we said that it would result in some difficult decisions and that some institutions would probably close as a result. I am delighted to hear from the Secretary of State that she has done well in her debate with colleagues in the Treasury for this year’s spending settlement, but I understand from what I have read and what she has said that we can anticipate still further reductions. That means that more institutions will probably have to close, which will be a tragedy.

That means that we need to look at other means by which we can find funding for those institutions. The Government have already done a lot in trying to encourage philanthropy and, as has been mentioned, to increase the money going from the national lottery. In that respect, I would suggest that what the shadow Secretary of State described as the arts emergency might mean that we can consider—perhaps on only a temporary basis—the flexibility of national lottery funding. It has always been the principle that national lottery funding is there for capital investment projects and not for meeting ongoing costs, but if the consequence is that we can build new buildings while existing ones close, that would not necessarily seem to be a sensible use of resources. That is something that we might consider, if only for a limited period.

I was also interested to see what Dr Simon Thurley said recently about how it is hard to justify spending £35 million on a single painting by an Italian artist when so many buildings in Britain—5,000—are on the at-risk register. That, too, is something we might just look at.

I want to turn quickly to the creative industries, where one has to say that the picture is much brighter. The figures—in terms of employment and economic growth—for the huge contribution that the creative industries make in this country are well known. The success of the music industry and the film industry are well known, but it is also important to look at the others, such as electronic games, publishing, design and advertising.

If the hon. Gentleman will forgive me, I have six minutes and I would like to continue.

One of the most striking things from the Select Committee’s recent visit to California—I will remember this for a long time—was the look on the face of the hon. Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North (Jim Sheridan) when he saw thousands of zombies overcoming Philadelphia. He said, “That’s Glasgow.” Of course, it was Glasgow. Indeed, that film alone brought £90 million into this country. That could not have come without the tax break which the previous Government introduced but which this Government have maintained and extended to cover high-end TV drama, animation and electronic games.

The one note of warning I would sound is that the success of all those creative industries depends on one thing: a strong framework of intellectual property rights. We tinker with that at our peril. Yes, there may be a case for modernising it, but we must be very careful not to pursue questionable and illusory benefits at the price of putting at risk the huge economic benefit to this country from the success of all our creative industries. I ask the Secretary of State, and also Ministers in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, to think very carefully about introducing such things as private copying exception and some of the other Hargreaves proposals. I know that we shall be debating that, but the Secretary of State will be aware of the considerable alarm that is being expressed throughout the creative industries about the damage that could be done unless the matter is handled very carefully.

We also need to do more to tackle online piracy, which is still doing huge damage to the creative industries. The Digital Economy Act 2010 was an extremely good first step: it is not perfect, but it is nevertheless a matter of great regret that none of its provisions have yet been enacted. Things are being done—the City of London police are doing extremely good work, and I strongly support their new initiatives to pursue online intellectual property crime—but a very strong signal would be sent if letters could be written to serial file-sharers who are in breach of copyright law, telling them that what they are doing is not only wrong, but jeopardising the success of the creative industries on which we depend so much.

Let me begin by telling the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr Whittingdale) that the film “World War Z”—or zee, to the Americans—involved actors. It was not people in Glasgow who were walking about as zombies.

I must admit that I am a repentant son to the creative industries. When it was announced that the Select Committee would be looking into the whole issue of the creative arts, mine was a very luddite approach. I took the view that inquiries of that kind were for arty-farty types—and I am certainly not one of them. However, as I have said, I am now repentant. I was wholly mistaken. Since the inquiry I have learnt how much the creative industries have benefited the UK economy, and I now realise that “arty-farty types” could not be further from the truth of what today’s creative industries look like. People in the creative industries are dynamic, innovative and, more important, young. We must continue to encourage those young people and allow them to thrive, because without them we would lose a great part of our economy and a beacon for British culture.

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is important for education, particularly arts education, to be available to everyone across the spectrum? Evidence given to our Committee expressed great concern about the originally proposed EBacc, which would have narrowed choice in state schools and hence narrowed the background of people going into the creative industries. Does my hon. Friend agree that we must be ever vigilant in reining in the over-eager Secretary of State for Education, so that in his enthusiasm he does not do unintended damage that we might all come to regret?

My hon. Friend is right. Perhaps he saw my speech in advance, because I was going to say something about that. He is an extremely important and valued member of the Committee.

May I issue a plea to the Secretary of State? Regional television companies, especially commercial companies such as Scottish Television, feel that their profiles are not as high as those of public sector broadcasters, and that their priorities do not receive the same attention. At the same time, in the light of the additional funds that will be needed to finance the forthcoming referendum and, indeed, the Commonwealth games, there is genuine concern about the fact that a public sector broadcaster, BBC Scotland, is not receiving the resources that it ought to be receiving.

I chair the Unite group in Parliament. Unite represents a number of people who work in print, publishing, the arts and tourism. It may not surprise Members that the first issue that I want to raise in that connection is the sheer number of jobs involved. The creative industries employ about 1.5 million people, and, according to Government statistics, employment in the sector is increasing at twice the rate of the economy. This is not a sector that we want to stifle, as it is one of the only ones that is actually managing to create jobs.

We must also ensure that we remember all the different jobs that these industries entail. Unfortunately, we have a habit of focusing on the stage talent and sometimes forget those who work backstage, who are the engine behind the industry. Their involvement is just as crucial; when we talk about job creation, we must talk about boosting jobs in those areas as well. I mentioned earlier that young people drive the industry, but in talking about jobs we must address the desperate need to encourage and support those who want to follow such a path. Owing to the Government’s education policy, there has been a downgrading of the arts and other subjects that lead towards the creative industries. More importantly, there are few opportunities for young people to train on the job in apprenticeships and paid posts. I fear that those who cannot afford to work in such posts, or to go to university to gain the additional qualifications—they may not even want to do so—are at a disadvantage in the industry.

Unfortunately, the industry also disadvantages those who cannot undertake an unpaid internship. We hear stories of young hopefuls running around film sets or recording studios desperate to gain experience and contacts, but those people can afford not to be paid; they can afford to live in London, Manchester or Glasgow with no wages. That is not a reality for many young people, so we inevitably lose some of our best talents to those practices. More must be spent on apprenticeships and on giving all young people the chance to work in these important industries.

When we were in government, we introduced the future jobs fund, which in one programme alone provided 800 paid work placements for young people, and 71% of those who participated went into employment, education or training afterwards. This Government, as we know, have abolished that fund. These industries not only provide jobs, but have a much wider impact: they are the third biggest export industry in the UK and worth something in the order of £36 billion a year.

The wide-ranging impact of investment in the creative industries can be felt across the local economy. As I said previously, we can see that in Glasgow. The film “World War Z” is being shown for the first time in Glasgow tonight, following its premier in London. It brought £3.3 million into the city’s economy during the 17 days when the film was shot there. Overall, Hollywood films boosted the economy last year by £20.5 million. “Cloud Atlas” and “Under the Skin” were also filmed in the city. In 2011, 225 productions were shot in Glasgow, and those of us in and around the city are keen to keep encouraging the industry, to help boost others that are struggling during the recession.

In order to survive, the creative industries are crying out for a better solution. I am sure that there are people more in tune with corporate issues than I am and are able to cover that more extensively. These industries cannot attract investment because investors are not confident that they can get the returns that they deserve. Why would anyone invest in music or films to generate money when there is no guarantee of a return?

I am conscious of the time. I am delighted that the Culture, Media and Sport Committee embarked on an inquiry into the creative industries and their impact on the economy.

I am grateful for the opportunity to take part in this debate. The arts and creative industries are one of the UK’s biggest success stories, outperforming most of our more traditional sectors of the economy and exporting talent across the globe. They are one of the main reasons why the UK is a prime destination of choice for so many foreign travellers. Unfortunately, we do not often get the opportunity to talk about its successes or to debate some of the potential challenges ahead, which is why I welcome this opportunity.

There is little doubt that the subject of this Opposition day debate was chosen in the light of questions being raised about the future of some of our finest museums in the north—in Manchester, Bradford and York—but the unequivocal response from the Minister that the museums are not going to close, and the tough negotiations by the Secretary of State, which have resulted in a much better settlement for our museums, have rather ruined the Opposition’s opportunity to criticise the Government. This has resulted in a fairly benign motion, which the Government could quite easily have agreed to, and I certainly agree with the comments of the Chair of my Select Committee, my hon. Friend the Member for Maldon (Mr Whittingdale).

The arts and creative industries are vital to communities and the economy throughout the country, and we must nurture the next generation of talent if we are to continue to grow. The need to do that was highlighted in the report of Ian Livingstone and Alex Hope, whom the Minister commissioned in 2010 to review the skills needs of the UK’s video games and visual effects industries and to make practical recommendations as to how they can be met.

The UK had slipped from third to sixth in the global development ranking, and there was a clear recognition that more needed to be done, so I am a little disappointed that the Government did not simply accept the motion, but political rules tend to dictate that Oppositions always oppose Governments—we have had a fair bit of that over the past three years—and Governments always reject anything put forward by Oppositions. I suppose it could be argued that the Opposition’s motion questions the leadership of the Department, but I want to put on record my support for the ministerial team in recognising the importance of the creative industries and for the Secretary of State’s determined negotiations with the Treasury to put in place funding that will secure the future of our museums.

The hon. Gentleman has been a supporter of the Museum of Science Industry in the past, although judging by the tone of his speech, that might be changing. Will he comment on the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for York Central (Hugh Bayley) about the structural deficit that is building up because of the cuts, which will reach 20% even with just the 5% cut now? Is he concerned that even if there is only a 5% cut, our museum—MOSI—will still have a fight on its hands to maintain the extensive number of buildings?

If the hon. Lady gives me a little more time, I will talk about that.

The Department has protected the future of our museums at a time when it would have been far easier for the Government to have cut deeper into the DCMS budget, so I will certainly be supporting the amendment.

Concerns had been raised that museums in Manchester, York and Bradford were under threat of closure. Ian Blatchford, head of the Science Museum Group, warned about the possible need to close one or more of the museums in the north if the spending review resulted in a 10% cut in the budget, or at least to start charging to make up the predicted increase in the deficit from £2 million to £6 million. That resulted in huge campaigns to protect our museums, including the Save MOSI campaign led by the Manchester Evening News, which received over 30,000 signatures in the first 24 hours.

It is always difficult to gauge how real a threat of closure there actually was, but the Department could not have been clearer in showing its commitment to our national museums in the north, and in fighting its corner in budget negotiations. We must recognise, however, that there is still a lot of work to do to ensure that museums are put on a secure financial footing for the long term.

What I am certain about is that we must not go down the road of charging for entry. The previous Government should be applauded for ending charging at state-funded museums in 2001. In Manchester that resulted in an increase in patronage from 288,000 in the last 12 months of charging to over 833,000 last year. MOSI is Manchester’s No. 1 attraction, but it is more than that: it is a science and industry museum located at the heart of the industrial revolution, and it is a destination for learning. Most children across Greater Manchester will visit the museum at some point in their school career.

Overall, there were 5 million visitors to the group’s four museums in the last 12 months. Even with the “doomsday” scenario mooted by Ian Blatchford, that means the SMG would need to generate only £1.20 extra from visitors coming through the doors to wipe out the £6 million deficit.

Charging an entry fee is not the answer. We know what charging does to visitor numbers. Currently eight of the top 10 UK visitor attractions are free DCMS-sponsored national museums, and there are about 18 million annual visits to museums and galleries that used to charge an entrance fee. It would also have an impact on foreign tourism. According to VisitBritain, Britain’s major museums and galleries earn the country £1 billion a year in revenue from overseas tourists. A recent report on Britain’s culture and heritage showed that museums and galleries are a key motivator for many international visitors to Britain, with free world-class national museums and art galleries a particular draw. Given the importance of the tourism industry to the UK economy, charging must be ruled out.

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee intends to carry out an inquiry on the future and funding of the national museums. The two Front-Bench teams could do worse than to follow the example set by the Committee, as the hon. Members for Shipley (Philip Davies) and for Bradford South (Mr Sutcliffe) and I all supported having an inquiry into how we could secure the future of our museums. We took a proper cross-party approach. Rather than playing party politics, the Committee will take a proper look at ways in which additional sources of income can be found, at a time when state funding will, obviously, remain under pressure for years to come.

The Opposition motion also rightly recognises the importance of the creative industries to the economy; they make up in excess of 7% of the economy and continue to show strong growth at a time when many sectors have stagnated or retracted. One great example is the UK games development sector, which is the largest in Europe. However, there has been disagreement recently on whether or not high-tech creative companies, such as those in the games industry, should be included in the measurement of the creative industries.

It is a great honour to be involved in this debate and to follow the hon. Member for Manchester, Withington (Mr Leech). I am a bit dubious about the football team he supports, but that was the first time I have heard him congratulate the previous Labour Government. Will he put that in writing so that we have it for future reference?

This is an important debate, for the reasons that have been outlined by many of my colleagues on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, whose Chairman has said what it is trying to do. My hon. Friend the Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North (Jim Sheridan) was a bit hard on himself in saying that he was not fully involved with the thought patterns on what needs to happen. He, like me, has certainly learned that the creative industries are vital parts of this country’s lifeblood. They are also important to cities such as Bradford.

I know the House will forgive me for talking about the plight of Bradford’s media museum, but before I do that I wish to mention something that was being talked about long before the prospect of its closure: the rebranding of the city. We were discussing a city with a strong literary and cultural history, and people will know that of Bradford. It is the home of the Brontës, J. B. Priestley, David Hockney, the Black Dyke Mills Band, Kala Sangam and, more recently, Zayn from One Direction. It is also the birthplace of the British film industry and is the first UNESCO city of film. The Minister, and the Education Secretary, whom we are delighted to see in his place, will be pleased to know that next month Bradford college will launch the international film school. That brings together Bollywood and international film makers from around the world to teach the youngsters of Bradford about film. Of course, as I said, Bradford is also the home of the National Media museum.

We were not just involved in a marketing or rebranding exercise; it was about rethinking our future economy in Bradford and cities like it. Bradford is very close to Leeds, the regional centre, and we wanted to find a way to examine the job and economic prospects for Bradford for the future. We want to sell ourselves as a city of culture, media and sport—we have the heritage. That is why the announcement saying that the National Media museum may close came as a bit of a blow. I think that there has been some inverted snobbery over many years. I am old enough to remember when we first got the National Media museum from London in the late ’80s, at a time when the then Government were trying to make sure that everything was not concentrated around London and that things would go out to the regions. We were proud to have the National Media museum in Bradford, but there has been snobbery in the past, as people have, year after year, been trying to get the museum back to London from Bradford. So it is great news that the Minister said what he did to the group of Bradford MPs and said publicly yesterday that there is no reason why the media museum should close. It is great news that the Department has been able to reduce a 10% cut to a 5% cut, but it is still a cut. My hon. Friend the Member for York Central (Hugh Bayley) spoke about the accumulation of problems that we face.

I hope the Minister can tell us about the capital programme and the issues that science museums may face in relation to the capital project. That will be important to the future of the museum. It is not just about saving the northern museums; it is about putting investment in and making sure that they are places where people want to go. Our museum has been run down over the past few years. I do not care whose fault that is. We need to look at new partnership arrangements to make sure that we can invigorate that museum. We can do that through the local authority, the local college and the local university coming together, and businesses in Bradford looking to see what they can do philanthropically to protect the future of the museum. I am grateful to the Minister, who said at the meeting on Monday that he would use his good offices to bring people together to try and make sure that we have a workable solution to what needs to happen in Bradford.

The debate is about more than museums in Bradford, important though those are. It is about the creative sector. Copyright is a major concern, as the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr Whittingdale) said. The Government need to take heed of bodies such as ALCS, which the Minister knows well. It is not about alcoholics, as he tried to explain yesterday when he talked about Barbara Hayes and Janet Anderson spending their time in Strangers Bar. The Authors Licensing and Collecting Society looks after the copyright proposals that are before the Government now. It is important that the creative industries are confident about copyright protection.

The creative industries are important to the economy. They are the new manufacturing, in terms of the opportunities that they present. In Bradford we have a growing young population. We have the opportunity to have technicians involved in the film industry and in the games industry in our great city. We want to have film studios. I notice with interest that the Warner Brothers planning application has been turned down. If Buckinghamshire does not want it, we will have it in Bradford and in Yorkshire. We must ensure that the sector in the UK remains a world-leading sector. We may have our political knockabout, but the sector is important to us as a country and we need to make sure that we develop it in our own best interests.

I shall take this opportunity to try to cover two subjects, the video games industry and libraries. I am the chair of both all-party parliamentary groups.

Starting with the video games industry, I work very well with the trade representatives, UKIE, the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment, and TIGA, which have done an incredible job in helping to shape Government policy and promote an industry that is growing at an incredible rate. In the UK alone the video game consumer market is worth £2.9 billion, with year-on-year growth of 4%. That makes up 40.2% of the entertainment market. There are about 33.6 million games in the UK, evenly split between males and females. The UK is the third biggest consumer market for the video games industry, after Japan and America. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that the global market will be worth $87 billion by 2017.

Game development is popular in the UK, with 56 universities providing 141 video games specialist courses throughout the UK. There are 9,224 creative staff working in studios, with 16,864 jobs indirectly supported by those studios. The sector’s contribution—this is always music to politicians’ ears—to the UK gross domestic product was around £947 million in 2012. Crucially, 95% of our game developers export their product.

The first of the three points that I want to make is that the UK games tax relief is hugely welcome news. It will be a major shot in the arm to our industry and will allow us to keep up with the international competition and the huge potential for growth in the sector. For those Eurosceptics in the Chamber, I have to say that Europe is being particularly difficult. I urge the Government to stand up, as they do on many other issues relating to Europe, and make sure that Europe does not cheat our games developers out of the incentive to proceed.

Secondly, the radical changes to computer science in schools are also crucial. On a number of occasions I have visited a local studio called Neon Play, which is expanding at an incredible rate and producing fantastic games. It tells me that its biggest challenge is getting skilled people. People have the degrees and qualifications, but they almost have to start again because their education has been broad brush rather than specialising in, for example, 3D programming, design, music or a particular segment of a game, which would make a huge difference. I saw how it can inspire young people. I was fortunate enough to be able to take a child from a local organisation called SMASH, which helps children from challenging backgrounds, and he was given an opportunity to be inspired in a career that ultimately, on average, pays £34,000 a year, which is definitely worth aspiring to.

Finally, we need to consider the problem of the lack of females in the video games industry. I went to an event organised by a fantastic charity called Lady Geek. Within the industry, 90% of jobs are taken by males, and only 4% of game developers are female. Lady Geek is doing a fantastic job to promote and encourage as many females as possible to take this up, and I have recently written to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to ask her personally to meet representatives of the charity, and I very much hope that she will.

Libraries provide an important starting point for many people who ultimately go into the creative industries. I was formerly the lead member for libraries within my local authority and we built a number of new libraries, including a £10 million central library on time and on budget, and made some changes. I want to make a quick whistle-stop tour of things that I would like to see within the library service, and I am sure that the shadow Minister will be taking lots of notes, as this is an area that he often follows me on.

Modern library buildings are key. In a modern bookshop such as Waterstones, one expects a certain quality of service, but I am afraid that too many of our libraries are in need of refurbishment. Local authorities must utilise section 106 moneys, the new homes bonus and the opportunities within the Localism Act 2011 to leverage bits of funding. When they spend that money, they need to look at sharing best practice. Too often, local authorities reinvent the wheel, start again and spend huge sums doing things that Waterstones would do for a fraction of the price.

We must also consider measures such as shared usage. Our Old Town library was due to close. I was part of the team that campaigned to keep it, and across the road we had a fantastic refurbished arts centre. We transferred the library into that, and it extended its core 20 hours to cover the entire time that the arts centre was open. The council had to pay only one set of rent and rates, and usage went through the roof.

Libraries must be at the heart of the community. We should display usage and membership figures in all libraries for the community to see. Library managers should be empowered to be responsible not just for the physical building but for the community that they serve, taking library services out there.

Will the hon. Gentleman therefore condemn the views of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who said that those who are interested in saving their libraries were just “a bunch of luvvies”?

I have worked with library campaigners throughout the country and I always challenge them to make sure that local authorities understand the importance of libraries, and in particular to make sure that they are being well used. I have been incredibly impressed with my local authority’s attempts to do outreach work, encouraging the summer reading programme that all MPs support every year. We have a brilliant officer in Ellen Carter, who does fantastic things in the community, encouraging people of all ages to use the libraries.

We also need to make sure that the library service matches modern expectations. Swindon took a bold decision—we are always at the cutting edge—and opened a library on a Sunday because it was next door to the Asda Walmart, and it is now its busiest day, so we need to adapt and change.

Volunteers are a controversial subject in the library world. Some local authorities decided that they could do away with professional librarians and replace them with volunteers. My view is that volunteers should be encouraged to enhance library provision, which could be by extending opening hours, providing additional activities, entertainment and events, and fund-raising.

Does my hon. Friend agree that flexibility is absolutely key if libraries are to continue, co-locating and co-working with other public utilities?

My hon. Friend is spot on. Like any sector, things change, and libraries must also keep up. Every community is different, and it is important that the centre is not prescriptive. Each local community can shape and influence their own service.

We need to ensure that volunteers promote the library within the community, taking the library service to people who cannot reach the libraries. They need to produce newsletters, promote things on Facebook, and make sure that the library is at the heart of the community.

We must also look at library budgets. It is staggering that even today only 7.5% of a typical library budget is spent on book stock. I regularly ask people about that, and most think that the figure is probably about 50%. We must ensure that money is spent on the front line, not the back office. Obviously the Government will have to make a decision on how we take forward e-reading.

In summary, I am keen to see local library managers empowered and volunteers encouraged in order to improve the library service. We must ensure wherever possible that we deliver value for money within a service that is much loved by our communities.

Order. We will now hear a maiden speech. I remind the House that, as a courtesy, Members do not intervene in a maiden speech. Hopefully they will not intervene too much afterwards, if we are to get everybody in.

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for allowing me to make my maiden speech in this debate. I am deeply honoured not only to have been chosen by the people of South Shields to represent them as their Member of Parliament, but to be the first woman to do so. Shields has boasted a Labour MP in every election since 1935. It gives me tremendous pride to represent one of the most discerning electorates in the country.

I would first like to pay tribute to my predecessor, David Miliband. David was a passionate and brilliant public servant, both as a constituency MP and a Cabinet Minister. He was highly regarded by the local community, not least for presiding over the dramatic transformation of our schools. His record in government, beginning as schools Minister, then a Communities and Local Government Minister, then Environment Secretary, and finally Foreign Secretary, is proof of the determination and vigour with which he pursued his role. I know that Members on both sides of the House share my admiration and respect for him and wish him well in his new role.

Shields is a town defined by its geography, standing as it does on the mouth of the River Tyne and facing out to the North sea. As a port, it has welcomed seafarers from far-flung locations. Its magnificent coastline and award-winning beaches are one of the north-east’s great natural spectacles. Each year we host one of Britain’s greatest human spectacles, serving as the finishing line for the tens of thousands of runners who participate in the great north run.

It is a town with a proud history of political organisation and vibrant community and trade union activity. It is a town that knows the dignity and reward that work brings and understands the duty we each have to provide not just for ourselves and our families, but for the world around us. It is a town enriched by a diversity of outlooks and traditions, dating back to the days of the Roman empire but continually refreshed by the arrival of foreign traders and settlers. I hope that my contribution to the House will reflect those virtues and do credit to the community I represent.

As the constituency’s first woman MP, and the first MP to have been born within its boundaries, I feel that I am something of an innovation. But the people of Shields have always been great innovators. My great-great-great-grandfather, William Wouldhave, was the inventor of the lifeboat. The constituency is also home to Souter lighthouse, the first to use alternating electric current. We have Britain’s oldest daily newspaper, The Shields Gazette, first published in 1849. We have one of Britain’s first mosques, in Laygate, and for over a century the constituency has been home to a significant Yemeni population. They have been joined by Bangladeshi and Indian communities, who have become part of the fabric of our town and continue to make important contributions.

Work is underway on a £100 million regeneration of the town centre, which will include a new cinema, library and arts centre. That will add to our already vibrant creative industry, comprising the South Shields museum and the Customs House. Since the 1800s, the Customs House has developed into a premier arts venue, with a theatre, cinema and gallery. Through its chartered programme, the Customs House, under the fantastic leadership of Ray Spencer, known locally as “Tommy the trumpeter”, offers what is at the core of today’s debate: an opportunity for all people to engage and learn from the arts. That opportunity is strongly valued by my right hon. and hon. Friends.

The port of Tyne continues to thrive, providing employment and vital trade links to Europe and beyond. It thoroughly deserves its recent accolade of north-east business of the year 2013. Our young people are achieving their highest ever GCSE results. Despite challenging financial times, South Tyneside college and its world famous Marine school continue to play a part in offering first class vocational education to students of all ages.

South Tyneside district hospital, where I was born, continues to provide vital services for our community against a backdrop of cuts and reorganisation. South Tyneside Homes has won the training and development category of the “Best Companies to Work For” awards run by The Sunday Times. In the last financial year, almost 3,000 council homes across the borough were improved and the number of apprentices that we boast is increasing steadily. It is little wonder that the Labour-controlled South Tyneside council was commended by The Municipal Journal as one of a handful of best achieving councils nationally and that Shields has recently been singled out as one of the country’s 30 best places to live by the sea.

Notwithstanding that, Shields continues to suffer one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. We need investment in infrastructure and industrial and commercial development. It makes no sense economically to allow my constituents’ potential to go unrealised; a skilled and knowledgeable work force give far more back to the country than they cost to train.

I put myself forward for election to represent the people of Shields at Westminster so that I can fight our corner during these difficult times. I know that I am only one person, but I am the voice for everyone in my constituency. I will make sure that those who voted for me are proud that they did. I will try to win the confidence of not only those who did not vote for me, but the people who did not vote at all. I will work to give them confidence not just in me, but in this House.

As one who represents a port, it gives me great pleasure to welcome the hon. Member for South Shields (Mrs Lewell-Buck) and congratulate her on a first class maiden speech. Like seafarers across the nation, many people in my constituency owe a great debt to the hon. Lady’s grandfather. We can all be proud of the invention of the lifeboat and the subsequent lifeboat service, which has saved countless lives around our shores.

Given the passion with which the hon. Lady spoke, about her ancestors and the place from which she comes, I am sure that she will proudly represent her community. Her great sense of history, place and public service shone through her speech. She must be particularly pleased to be the first woman to represent her seat. As a woman Member of Parliament, I am pleased to welcome other women, whatever side of the House they sit on. Having more women Members of Parliament can only be a force for good. Finally, I congratulate the hon. Lady on what will undoubtedly be the most difficult speech that a Member of Parliament makes; I assure her that all subsequent speeches will be much easier. Well done.

I turn to the subject of the debate. Like the Secretary of State, I believe passionately in the intrinsic value of the arts, which are a fundamental expression of our human nature and important for our sense of health and well-being. As the Secretary of State rightly pointed out, arts and the creative industries are also important to our economy. In the south-west, the creative economy is worth more than £1 billion and the region employs more than 94,000 people in the sector.

In the limited time available, I want to share the terrific success story of creative arts in Cornwall and my constituency in particular. Cornish people are naturally creative and innovative, as well as self-reliant, and we are used to working in partnership. Despite the difficult economic times, we are very much rising to the challenge; I refute the “gloom and doom” scenario introduced by Opposition Members.

I am grateful for the personal support of the Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (Mr Vaizey), who has made positive interventions in respect of the National Maritime museum and Royal Cornwall museum in my constituency. I am happy to report that both are alive and kicking and have positive plans for the future. They are joined by the Hall for Cornwall in Truro, which has ambitious plans to go from strength to strength and create the national theatre of Cornwall. I could not make this speech without mentioning the award-winning Falmouth art gallery. Despite the Opposition’s dreadful picture of doom and gloom, I can report on organisations that are alive and kicking and going from strength to strength.

The Government’s introduction of beneficial tax arrangements for the film industry means that Cornwall is now being used as a site for a lot of extremely good films, especially by crews from overseas. The Cornish writer Rosamunde Pilcher is a firm favourite with Germans and film crew after film crew has pitched up in Cornwall to make films of her popular books. This is exciting for us in Cornwall and it is producing a lot of very welcome jobs. If hon. Members have not seen the film “Summer in February”, which was shot in Cornwall, I urge them to do so, because it shows Cornwall at its best.

Does my hon. Friend agree that that type of commercial investment from the film and television industry—similar to that from philanthropists in the arts—is creating a vibrant cultural scene not just in central London, but right across the country?

Absolutely. I am happy to back up that point. As far west as we are in Cornwall, that is a very important part of our economy and our quality of life.

In the couple of minutes I have left, I want to draw the House’s attention to another way in which the Government are supporting the creative industries. We are extremely proud that Falmouth has just gained university status. Falmouth university has an international reputation for excellence in art, design, media and performance. It has 4,000 students and employs people. Far from the doom and gloom of the Opposition, it is seeing increased applications and full rolls. Over 100 hundred years, the institution has provided a great deal of people and skills for our creative industries. It has had more than £100 million of investment over the past 10 years, supported by successive British Governments and the European Union. The merger with Dartington college of arts in 2008 brought a wealth of new opportunities for students and secured the future of Dartington’s internationally renowned portfolio of performance courses.

All of that investment means that a lot of graduates are not only going on to be employed in our vital creative industries, but setting up businesses themselves. Falmouth graduates do not simply get jobs; they make jobs for themselves and others. Recent investments by the university, working in partnership with Cornwall council, have led to innovative projects, such as the academy for innovation and research and the innovation centre, where graduates and undergraduates work with local businesses, using their creativity to help grow even more jobs. A target for 2015 is to support 185 companies, which should create 122 new jobs and generate £18 million for the local economy.

Creative industries in Cornwall, the south-west and around the country have enormous potential to help contribute to the rebalancing of our national economy. We are creating and developing things, and creating more jobs in the private sector for export all around the world. We should be proud of these industries and celebrate their continuing innovation to put the “Great” back into Britain.

Order. We have to reduce the time limit to five minutes. [Hon. Members: “Aww!”] Well, it could be four, if you wish.

May I add my welcome to my hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mrs Lewell-Buck) and congratulate her on her maiden speech? The innovation that she talked about in her constituency is similar in many ways to the passion for innovation that fired my city of Birmingham in the early days. It is there to this day and it is changing. Many of the traditional industries are still there, although they are different in the 21st century.

In addition, our creative industries are really interesting and dynamic, focusing on such things as design—from designing cars to fashion design. We see innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises in the Custard Factory area in Digbeth and in firms such as Maverick, which is a dynamic independent company working in film and TV. We see it in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, which Sir Simon Rattle made his own all those years ago, and in the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Hippodrome theatre, which attracts more than 500,000 visitors a year to the city.

We also see it in the development of community arts. My constituency of Northfield is not normally regarded as a hotbed of the arts, but I can tell hon. Members that one of our city’s foremost poets, Spoz Esposito, a former Rover worker, is today nurturing young talent in slam poetry in schools there. There is also an arts forum in the area which this summer will provide an open-air theatre for young people aged 16 to 25.

Another name—the BBC—should be not only part of the list, but on top of it. There are good news stories. The Drama Village is the centre for the “Doctors” TV programme and other programmes might be in the pipeline. However, there is a “but”, and it is a big “but”. One of the BBC’s six public purposes is to represent different nations, regions, communities to the rest of the UK. What does that mean in practice? The midlands region, which has 16% of the UK’s population, receives just 2% of the BBC’s programme making. No other nation or region of the UK receives as little. Where are the midlands voices and characters on our TV screens? That is why there are legitimate calls from the Campaign for Regional Broadcasting and others for the midlands to receive its fair share.

We have heard words before—the previous Conservative leader of the council came out with a lot of words, as did the previous director-general of the BBC. However, we must go beyond words and into action. We must have investment in our people—in the writers and crews, in Equity members; actors and production talent, in our Drama Village and beyond.

We have a strong heritage—everybody still talks about the great days of Pebble Mill in the midlands—but the fanfare that accompanied the BBC’s relocation to the Mailbox has not been followed through with action. My hon. Friends the Members for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Steve McCabe), and for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Ms Stuart), and I met the director-general of the BBC to say, “Things have got to change.” The early signs have been positive, but they must lead to action.

Birmingham is one of the youngest and most diverse cities in Europe. If the BBC and other programme makers are looking to where broadcasting needs to be in the next decade, they need to look at Birmingham’s population, and at what our young people are saying today, tomorrow and next year. That means action to commission and produce more programmes in Birmingham.

It also means action from the Government. I hope that they talk to the BBC, but they must also end the growing disparity between regional investment and investment in the capital. They must also think again about the impact of their cuts to Arts Council funding and to local authorities. I want young talent to be nurtured, not snuffed out. I want the Government to help our creative industries to live up to Hamlet’s call to the arts to

“hold…a mirror up to nature”.

That means fostering our cultural ecosystem, not undermining it by neglect. Unless the Government change course, I fear the latter will happen.

I begin by associating myself with what the Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, my hon. Friend the Member for Maldon (Mr Whittingdale), said on the Opposition motion, which I did not have an issue with, and with what he said on the need to maintain our strong position on intellectual property.

The debate takes place at a time when “austerity” is the buzz word. Austerity is not a bad policy, but rather the result of previous bad policies. I therefore congratulate the Secretary of State on the funding settlement she managed to achieve. Many people from the arts to whom I have spoken are, like the rest of British society, fully aware that money is tight, and that they need to do their bit to help to eliminate the deficit.

I should declare some interests. I am the vice-chairman of the all-party group on dance. I have a specific dance style—it is a bit like a spider trapped in a sink—but I will be appearing in “Strictly Daventry” on 5 July, should any hon. Members wish to come and see said style. Tickets are available online or from me afterwards.

I am also the chairman of the Northampton Theatres Trust and will spend the rest of my contribution talking about regional theatre.

The Northampton Theatres Trust has the huge Royal and Derngate theatre complex, which contains two theatres and a cinema that is just about to open. In fact, “Summer in February” will be on tomorrow as its first show. The Royal, an old-fashioned theatre, has a 583-seat capacity. The Derngate has a capacity of 12,000 seats and is a multi-purpose auditorium that can be configured for a variety of events, including theatre, opera, live music, dance, fashion and sports. Like many regional theatres, it is abuzz; it is alive with talent and fantastic creativity.

I want to demonstrate how important the theatres are to the local economy. Not long ago, in 2005, the theatres were closed for an 18-month, £14.5 million redevelopment, which saw the merging of the two venues. I reiterate that it is a fantastic complex. While the theatres were shut, the local economy of the area suffered, including the restaurants and even the local council because of the lack of parking revenues. Everybody suffered because the knock-on effect of the theatres on the local economy is so large. We must take that into account when we talk about regional theatre.

From 2006 to 2013, we had a fantastic regional artistic director in Laurie Sansom. We now have an even better one in James Dacre. To prove how important regional theatre is, in 2012-13, the Royal and Derngate presented 767 performances and welcomed 236,000 audience members, which is up a couple of thousand on the previous year. Of those, 89,000 were young people, which is up from 50,000 in the previous year. We delivered activities in schools, from drama and dance workshops to residencies by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which reached 10,000 young people. We work closely with the university of Northampton and hope to do more with it in the future. We employ 58 full-time staff and 99 part-time staff. We are part of the big society, with 127 volunteers providing 9,228 hours of voluntary support.

The income of the theatres is £7.6 million, so this is not an insignificant business. Of that income, 73% is earned income—something we want to improve—14% comes from the Arts Council and 11% comes from the local authorities, which are doing their bit. I want to thank Northampton borough council and Northamptonshire county council very much. Only 2% of our income comes from sponsorship, trusts and individual donations, which is something else that we want to improve.

We need to talk about balance and culture, but many fantastic things are going on in regional theatres up and down the country already. We should not knock them and should always be there to praise them. It has been said that there are not many decent actors from the midlands. Well, Alan Carr, who may not be an actor but is a very good comedian, and Matt Smith are just two of the people who come from Northampton. I am sure that there are millions more people like them across the midlands. That is why we need strong regional theatres in which they can perform.

I congratulate my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman) on choosing this subject for an Opposition day and on the timing of the debate, given the important decisions that are about to be made in the comprehensive spending review.

For the Government, arts and culture must never be a fluffy, luxury add-on, but should be central to our industrial and economic policy and to our health and well-being policy, as well as being celebrated in their own right for their unique power to inspire and speak to what makes us human. They are sectors in which Britain excels. They are our biggest export after precision engineering and financial services. No other country in the world has a bigger creative sector as a proportion of its GDP.

During the Labour Government’s years in office, the creative industries grew at more than twice the rate of our economy as a whole and they continued to grow through the global financial crisis. They were central to the industrial strategy that that Government published in response to the crisis. As we have heard from many Members, British culture benefits from our unique combination of a mixed economy of public and private support, respect for artistic freedom and innovation, and the natural creativity of the British people. I see such things daily in my constituency where, in spite of the tough climate, Exeter’s Labour council has sought to maintain support for the arts because it recognises their vital contribution to the city’s economy and quality of life.

With the help of the previous Government, Exeter invested big sums in the redevelopment of our Victorian municipal museum, and was criticised by some at the time for doing so. Last year, that museum won the prestigious national art fund prize for the best museum in the country, and we have seen a huge increase in visitor numbers and spend as a result. Just in the past few months, the museum’s new global reputation helped attract national portrait and wildlife photography competition works on tour, as well as the wonderful British Museum touring exhibition, Warriors of the Plains. Exeter sustains a brilliant edgy theatre scene, an annual theatre festival, galleries, arts cinema, as well as food and cultural festivals to celebrate the city’s diversity. All that cultural capital makes Exeter an attractive place to live and work, provides training, boosts jobs, and helps keep talented and creative people in the city, rather than losing them to Bristol or London.

I believe the Culture Secretary recognises and understands all of that, and if the reports that she fought hard to minimise the next onslaught from the comprehensive spending review are true, I congratulate her on standing up for her Department. That makes a welcome contrast to her predecessor, who almost seemed to take pride in the fact that he offered the Treasury one of the biggest cuts in the last spending review, and that he was one of the first Cabinet Ministers to settle in that review.

May I tell the Culture Secretary, through her Minister, that there are three more important battles that she must fight and win? The first is for the survival of her Department—I hear what she said today but I tell her, through the Minister, that the philistines will come back. The Minister knows the arguments; we cannot have a Cabinet without a strong voice for arts and culture around the table. When colleagues, and others, come back and try to abolish his Department, I recommend he suggests that there are several other Departments it would make more sense to abolish before the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Secondly, the Culture Secretary must go to battle with the Education Secretary because of his apparent desire to destroy cultural and creative subjects in our education system. We are already seeing evidence of the impact that his changes to the curriculum and performance measurement systems in schools are having on arts subjects—a worrying and dramatic decline. Will the Culture Secretary please tell the Education Secretary that a student who leaves school at 16 with two arts qualifications is more likely to get a job by the time they are 19 than one who leaves with two science qualifications? Britain’s fantastic creative economy is built on an education system that has allowed and encouraged creativity and the arts to flourish. If we lose that, we lose everything else we have talked about in this debate.

Finally, the Culture Secretary must get tough on copyright. We know what needs doing; we legislated for it collectively in the House three years ago but the Government have still not implemented those measures. Copyright theft loses the creative industries billions of pounds a year, and it if is not tackled it will have a lasting, damaging effect on our culture and economy. I do not believe that the Secretary of State or the Minister wish to leave such a legacy behind them.

My direct personal experience of the creative industries was shaped during the 10 years I worked in the advertising industry. Anyone who has worked in that industry is well aware of the famous remark, attributed to Lord Leverhulme, that he knew that 50% of his advertising was working but did not know which 50%. Anyone who looks at the arts and creative industries across the country can see they bring huge economic benefits, and we have heard a lot about that today.

However, the creative industries do not exist just for the economic benefit they bring but because they have intrinsic worth in their own right. There is nothing wrong with celebrating art for art’s sake. Art and creativity allow us to express ideas in a way that adds more meaning than words can simply allow. We will see that later this year when the Royal Opera House puts on the Wagner opera “Parsifal”, dealing with complex issues of sacrifice and hope. At the first Folkestone triennial arts festival in my constituency, the poignant sculpture by Tracey Emin, “Baby Things”, dealt with the difficult issues of teenage pregnancy and single parenthood in coastal towns around the country. One also thinks of Hogarth’s masterpiece, “A Rake’s Progress”, which is about the dangers that can befall someone who spends recklessly, beyond their means and with no hope of supporting themselves.

The reason that my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Chris Heaton-Harris), like my hon. Friend the Member for Maldon (Mr Whittingdale), the Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, could agree with much of the Opposition’s motion was that the motion misses out the key component of the argument being advanced by Opposition Members. Labour Members, particularly the shadow Secretary of State, talk principally about money, insinuating that there should be more money for the arts and that cuts are damaging the arts, so people following this debate might be surprised to notice that money is not mentioned at all in the motion. The nearest we get to it is where it states that the Government should ensure that the creative industries have access to finance and funding. No one is saying that funding should be cut, but Labour is not saying how much funding. Should it be more? Should cuts be reversed? Should it be extra money? There is no mention of that at all. People following the debate will wonder, “What are they getting at?”

Listening to speeches today, I was reminded of some of the works on display at the fantastic, record-breaking Damien Hirst exhibition at Tate Modern last year during the Olympic games. I was reminded, however, not of the beautiful butterfly paintings or the shark in formaldehyde, but of the striking giant ashtray filled with a lifetime’s supply of cigarette butts generated by a smoker—a large vat of ash and butts. Instead of the cigarette butts, however, it could be the spending commitments and promises made by Labour Members in defence of projects that, as they well know, they have absolutely no means of paying for or supporting.

I am not one to disagree in public with the Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, my hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (Mr Vaizey), but he announced today his decision on the shortlisted cities for the city of culture programme, and I congratulate the final four that made it on to the shortlist. Despite the wonderful Folkestone triennial arts festival, the wonderful new Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate, Kent and the wonderful new Marlowe theatre in Canterbury, alas the east Kent bid did not make the final four. I can only imagine that he thought that east Kent was already such a towering beacon of arts and creativity in this country that it would have been unfair to give it yet another accolade. As many towns and cities have done, I am sure that we will use the experience of putting the bid together to bring together arts organisations and investors in the creative industries in our area to strengthen them all.

I congratulate the Opposition on bringing the arts and the creative industries together in the same motion, because they exist within a delicate web of business. Film studios and television production companies, which benefit from the production tax credits, also employ, directly and indirectly, other artists and creative people, be they set designers, costume makers, photographers or film makers. We see that in how the advertising industry works, not just in London but around the country, by drawing in that same wealth of talent. So, yes, support and funding for the Arts Council and from local authorities is important, but so too is having a vibrant industry of creative people working in businesses, producing and making things, generating jobs and income for this country and giving a massive boost to creativity and the arts.

It is a great pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Damian Collins). His was a masterclass in how to get ahead in advertising.

It is even more of a pleasure to follow my right hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr Bradshaw), who is no longer in his place, because last year his constituency won the museum of the year award. I must declare an interest in that I sat as a judge on the museum of the year award this year. We visited the great Narberth museum, the great Horniman museum, close to the constituency of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman), and the William Morris gallery, in the north of London, the latter winning with a great display of excellence, scholarship and curatorial skill—and this was a museum that was threatened with closure in 2007 on the grounds that William Morris had nothing to offer the modern, multicultural, urban community of Walthamstow. How wrong they were!

Arts for all is the Labour tradition. As William Morris put it in 1877:

“I do not want art for a few, any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few.”

What we achieved in government was for the many: we increased visits by children to museums and galleries by more than 2 million; provided a solid funding infrastructure for both national and regional arts organisations; supported creativity in education through creativity partnerships; and established the spectacularly successful UK city of culture, which my hon. Friends from Liverpool will no doubt explore in greater detail.

Rather than doom and gloom, we need to celebrate the previous Government’s achievement in the arts. I remind the House that the Conservative party visited the Sage Gateshead, and that the Northern Sinfonia was last week granted the title “Royal” by Her Majesty the Queen.

I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention. One had only to read Bagehot in The Economist last week to know of the great economic impact of the arts in the north-east, exactly on the template that Richard Florida has explained for urban economies.

Sadly, much of that achievement has been undermined by the current Government. Their assault on the British economy—stripping out demand and growth and fomenting unemployment—has hit the arts hard. They have cut the Arts Council budget by 35%, condemned philanthropists as tax dodgers and abolished the future jobs fund, which did so much to bring new talent into the arts. Meanwhile, their assault on local authority budgets has been passed down to the arts, libraries and galleries.

It is a question not just of funding, but of ethos. We have a Government who give a direct subsidy to local authorities to ensure that they can empty dustbins rather than keep galleries and libraries open—it is garbage not galleries under this Government. We have a Government who think libraries are only for luvvies and that those who are campaigning to save them are somehow misguided. What we also have is a dramatic and, frankly, Stalinist purge of personnel in the arts community. Sadly, we know that the Prime Minister has a terrible problem with women. We have seen the purge of Liz Forgan from the Arts Council and Baroness Andrews from English Heritage. Many of us now worry about the future of Jenny Abramsky at the Heritage Lottery Fund, who has done a great job.

Indeed. We are seeing a massive loss of talent and skills from our arts sector on the back of a purge led by the Prime Minister. The lists go into Downing street and the names are struck off. Meanwhile, the poor Minister with responsibility for the arts has to trawl around the clubs and back streets of London trying to find prospective trustees for the arts community. We know that the Conservatives’ interest in the arts is a limited gene pool, and we will have deep problems in managing our arts and galleries in the future.

Another element to the philistinism of the Government has been the assault on creativity in the classroom. We in the Labour movement have always supported rigour and excellence in our classrooms, but we are a creative nation and that comes from a young age, which is why Singapore and South Korea are interested in our educational system, to foster exactly the kind of creativity that feeds into the creative arts. What we have seen from the Secretary of State for Education is an undermining of that creativity in our schools. Since the Government came to power, we have seen a fall in GCSE entries of more than 5% in design and technology, more than 6% in drama, 3.5% in music—I could go on. They have abolished the creative partnerships initiative and cut the ring-fenced school music funding by nearly 30%, and their disastrous higher education policy has seen applications for creative subjects fall by 16%.

It is not all doom and gloom, however. In north Staffordshire there is a ray of hope, and it exists in the great city republic of Stoke-on-Trent. I thank the Minister for his hard work in the past two years in trying to keep the Wedgwood museum open. We are also grateful for the support of the Victoria and Albert museum, as we try to find a way through to keep that world-class institution open. I also pay tribute to Stoke-on-Trent city council’s great achievement in winning a silver medal in the Chelsea flower show. No doubt the Communities and Local Government Secretary would regard that as a grotesque waste of money, but it was a great display of the creativity and excellence that the soil of north Staffordshire has been producing since the age of Spode and Wedgwood in the 1760s and 1770s.

Let me end with an advert. Early next year, the Potteries museum and art gallery will be opening a wonderful new exhibition on the empire of ceramics: the story of the place of Stoke-on-Tent in the history of the British empire and how its ceramics went right around the world to Melbourne, Bridgetown, Bombay and Boston, shaping global culture from north Staffordshire. That is the kind of creativity that will happen under a Labour Government.

I am pleased to follow the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent Central (Tristram Hunt), but I must remind him that, under Labour, education and creativity were too often seen as the functions of failing schools and failing children who found strictly academic subjects to be a challenge—[Interruption.] That was what went on in his constituency and others. Unfortunately, he missed the point of what was going on in this debate. There has been a lot of cross-party agreement, and, as the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman) said, we all recognise the contribution of the arts.

I do not want to repeat what others have said, but I must point out that a good part of the arts and the creative industries is non-subsidised. In my own town of Lancaster, I can see the cross-cultural relationship between the subsidised and non-subsidised sectors. We have three theatres. The university theatre, the Nuffield, and the Dukes theatre are subsidised by the Arts Council, but the oldest theatre, the Grand, is still commercially run and receives no subsidy. Many of the artists who flow out from Lancaster and its great university do not ask for subsidies and do not get them. Instead, they make a contribution, and we underestimate that at our peril.

To be fair to Opposition Members, most of them have made positive contributions to the debate, but some have underestimated the success of the Secretary of State and the Minister in achieving the return that they have done, and in working behind the arts. I fully support the amendment, although I would also have mentioned the support that we have given to superfast broadband, which will add a great deal to the creative industries.

I want to make a couple of points about the Arts Council. I know that Ministers inherited the previous Government’s funding of the Arts Council. I want to ask some questions as a northern Member of Parliament. The southern average per capita funding from the Arts Council is £7.93, the midlands average is £5.78, and the northern average is £4.66, yet the London average is £21.42. I accept that London has great theatres such as the National Theatre and the Royal Opera House, but the Arts Council must be questioned about the continuation of this historical funding. The Labour Government did nothing to challenge it during all their years in office.

The per capita funding for the north-west is £3.50 and the funding for Lancashire is £1.45, and we wonder why there are suggestions of a north-south divide. There seems to be an historical north-south divide in the arts as well. Lancaster has seen a decline in Arts Council funding from £674,000 to £462,000 in recent years. Most of us in Lancaster accept austerity, however, and acknowledge that we have to pay for the grand schemes that Labour attempted to pay for by borrowing in previous years.

The hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent Central defended the leadership of the Arts Council. I tabled a number of questions to the Minister, in which I asked how much lottery funding the Arts Council got. I was told that it received £152 million in 2010-11, but spent £123 million, leaving £29 million in its pocket. Where did that money go? In 2011-12, its lottery funding was increased to £182 million, of which it spent only £115 million. That left £67 million unspent while groups in my area such as Ludus Dance, the Dukes theatre and the Nuffield theatre were suffering cuts. I know that the Arts Council is an independent, arm’s length body, but I have to ask the Minister some serious questions about the Arts Council’s management and the regional balance of its funding, given that, over those two years, it could afford to underspend by £96 million.

It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Lancaster and Fleetwood (Eric Ollerenshaw). If he is looking for something to have a go at Labour about, there is only one thing he needs to refer to: the calamitous Licensing Act 2003, which introduced the disastrous three-in-a-bar rule. That came from the Labour Government.

I want to talk about the drift of the current Government. I was concerned about the response to the hon. Member for Bristol East (Kerry McCarthy) when she talked about the first major speech that the Secretary of State gave on culture and the arts, in which the right hon. Lady seemed to give the clear impression that arts spending and investment would be predicated on economic growth and would have to demonstrate an economic return for the money given. When we are talking about nations and regions, which the Labour motion mentions, thank goodness that arts management and cultural organisations are devolved in Scotland and that we will not be part of that, because we take a contrary view. We recognise the intrinsic value of the arts and heritage, and we reject the idea that the return on investment in the arts somehow needs to demonstrate economic growth. I am glad that we refuse to do that.

We have our own cultural body in Scotland: Creative Scotland. It has had a few difficulties, as I think the Minister will have noticed—we lost our first chief executive officer. We have had a healthy debate about what economic growth means when it comes to the arts, but we have resolved that. We now respect the sacrosanct value of art for art’s sake, and we have been able to combine that with economic growth, because we have to. It is essential that we get the terrain right to grow our creative sector and ensure that our cultural businesses continue to grow, and it is the job of Government to provide that.

Other speakers have mentioned this, but here in the UK we have a fantastic creative sector, whether it is music, film, television or design, but the success of these creative industries does not exist in a vacuum. There are important but fragile pillars supporting them, and that comes down to support for intellectual property and copyright protection. If we are to continue to grow those sectors, we have to ensure that that is nurtured. We are the largest producers of content in Europe and the second largest in the world after the United States. By head of population, we probably create more content than any other nation in the world. One would think that practically all our effort as a Government would be about ensuring that those industries can continue to grow, but not a bit of it. Sometimes this Government actively work with other nations that have a contrary interest on these issues. Let me say to the Minister that we have to get behind the sector.

When those in the industry turn up to speak to the Minister, they always get a positive response—they always seem to enjoy the experience of seeing him—but sometimes they are almost casually dismissed. When they present their case, it is almost as though they are engaged in some form of “lobbynomics”. When the Government ask for evidence, those in the industry produce it, even when, in the case of the Hargreaves report, some of the evidence supporting some of the Government’s proposed copyright exceptions was something approaching bunkum.

Sometimes it seems that the artist—the creator—and those who are prepared to invest in that talent have become a massive inconvenience that must be grudgingly accommodated and managed. The idea of the inventor or creator as the owner of important intellectual property rights is sometimes barely recognised, while it seems that whatever rights they wish to assert must be collectivised for the greater good. The creative industries are often even told that they do not understand the business environment in which they are working. They ask for protection in intellectual property when there is evidence to inform the Government, but what they get is the Government pursuing further exceptions.

We need to take a look at who has the Government’s ear when it comes to being informed on these issues: self-serving, self-appointed digital rights champions and those with extreme libertarian agendas when it comes to online issues. Practically everything that the Government do is predicated on support for, and a desire to please, massive, multi-billion dollar west coast United States companies, particularly those such as Google. I do not know why Google has such access to the Government, but it certainly does, and nearly everything the Government do to support intellectual property is predicated on their view of Google.

This is a huge industry. We have to do what we can to continue to grow it. We are brand leaders when it comes to creative sectors and some of the cultural industries that support them, but the industry is fragile. The Minister should do what he can to ensure that the measures in the Digital Economy Act 2010 are put through. That is the one thing that the Government can do. It is three years since the Act was passed, by a vast majority in this House. We have waited for it. All the legal issues are resolved and the internet service providers have been taken care of. The Minister should just get on and do it. That is the one thing that he could do to ensure that the sector is supported.

We need to ensure that we grow the sector. That could lead to re-industrialisation thanks to the imagination, talent and creativity of the people of our country. Let us do it. Let us make sure we continue to grow the sector and do what we can to support our industries.

It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart). I pay tribute to him for his comments about copyright, which is a very important issue. It is also good to see that the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent Central (Tristram Hunt) is still in the Chamber. I suggest that, when he is next touring museums and judging them on their qualities, he should visit SeaCity museum in Southampton; I strongly recommend it. It is just a shame that neither Southampton nor Portsmouth succeeded in their bids to become city of culture.

As an executive member for culture on Test Valley borough council, I spent 10 years championing arts and culture throughout the borough, and I vividly recall how important they were to its residents. Perhaps we in Hampshire are lucky to have—in the main—local authorities with a real commitment to the arts, and a thriving voluntary sector which ensures that a wide range of activities are available, not necessarily funded by the public purse, but brought together by the community. We have the brilliant Test Valley Arts foundation, which has a community outreach programme encouraging young artists, and in Romsey we have the Plaza theatre. There is a genuine appreciation of the arts in every form, and, dare I say, a love of them.

I do not want to portray the Plaza theatre as the domain of luvvies, for it is not. The Plaza theatre youth group has been one of the fastest-growing youth groups in the area, and is determined both to keep up with demand from young people and to put on an exceptionally high-quality programme of activities. The Plaza has launched an ambitious Plaza Future campaign, which is raising funds to increase the capacity of the 230-seat theatre, which already sells 10,000 tickets a year, to install a new revolving stage, and to bring the facilities of the 1930s art deco building up to the standards of the 21st century. The campaign is supported by Sir Ian McKellen and honorary patron Mark McGann. The Plaza demonstrates how a community theatre, operating with no subsidy from the local authority, can work successfully and provide a focal point for the arts in a relatively small town.

However, it is not just one theatre that provides the cultural heart of a community. In Hampshire, the arts have long been supported by town, borough and county councils. The Romsey arts festival, which is held every three years, is a great example of that, as is Rum’s Eg, a community interest company. Rum’s Eg has set up an arts and crafts gallery in Romsey, which promotes the crafts of Hampshire artists and others in the region. It has been supported not just by local authorities but by Waitrose’s community fund, which has brought private money into the arts sector. It is a great example of mixed funding, of which we have heard much this afternoon and which enables the arts to have a viable future.

Of course, Hampshire is very lucky. Formerly on the county council and now working with the Minister as national adviser on public libraries is the wonderful Yinnon Ezra, who is also one of my constituents. Perhaps it is no surprise that we have such commitment to the arts and culture in our little part of Hampshire. The pioneering Discovery Centre programme has brought major changes to the library service, and has served as a flagship in showing how to attract new audiences to libraries and bring them up to date. If we are all in this together—and I believe that we are—we should note some fantastic examples of community-run libraries in Hampshire, such as the one in North Baddesley in my constituency.

However, it is not easy, at local or national Government level, to decide on priorities and make the difficult choices when it comes to how best to spend limited resources. I was saddened by the reaction of the main opposition party on Hampshire county council to the council’s allocation of £250,000 to restore one of only two remaining first world war gunboats. HMS M33, a Monitor gunboat, is berthed in dry dock in Portsmouth, and, in the centenary year, provides a real link for today’s generation with the great war. Surely that is one example of exactly what a cultural budget should be spent on: projects that can link us to our history, particularly in the great naval city of Portsmouth.

Culture and the arts mean different things to different people, and what appeals to some does not necessarily float the boat of others, but there is real value in the arts, whatever form they may take. In the remaining minute available to me, I want to comment on the play, later film, “War Horse”. In my constituency, it has led to a fantastic community project involving young people making their own clay model horses. The War Horse project will hopefully provide a memorial for the town’s remount depot, which provided 120,000 horses for the great war. It is another example of a community coming together and using arts and culture to provide a lasting memorial for the future.

I could, in my remaining 20 seconds, talk about all the other fantastic examples in Hampshire. Let me, however, commend them to the Minister and, indeed, to the Secretary of State, who is from the same county as me, and who knows full well that a thriving arts and cultural sector requires mixed funding, community involvement, volunteers and seedcorn funding from the Government.

I would like to talk about the key ways in which our cultural institutions and the creative industries that feed off them are crucial to our economy, our standing abroad and the education of our children. I believe that nowhere provides a better example of the importance of these industries than Greater Manchester, in which my constituency lies.

The late Brian Redhead, editor of the Manchester Evening News and presenter on the “Today” programme, once said:

“Manchester…is the capital, in every sense, of the North of England, where the modern world was born. The people know their geography is without equal. Their history is their response to it”.

Greater Manchester’s history and its future are both inseparable from its culture. The same city that hosted the largest ever art exhibition anywhere in the world in 1857 is still the thriving cultural capital of northern England today—although I appreciate our neighbours to the west may dispute that at times.

More than 20,000 people are employed in cultural businesses in Greater Manchester, the city region containing the nation’s largest concentration, outside London, of jobs in the media and creative industries. Art and creativity are woven into our economic fortunes as much as they form our city’s culture.

The value of the arts, however, is more than just a crude measure of gross domestic product. Let me provide the example of the Cornerhouse, a contemporary arts centre and independent cinema in central Manchester, which is run by my constituent, Dave Moutrey. Alongside its contemporary visual art exhibitions and the 30 titles it screens each month by independent, international and avant-garde film and documentary makers, it is also a hub for budding creative talent. Through a programme known as “micro-commissions”, the Cornerhouse has helped 60 budding creatives to launch their artistic careers over the last three years, with small commissions for work that get them an audience and allow them to make their first step in the industry. It is institutions such as Cornerhouse that are important both economically and culturally—not just to our city, but to our country as a whole.

As part of a £25 million investment in the arts, the Cornerhouse is going to be located with the Library theatre on a new site at First street in the city centre. Is that not a real testament to Manchester’s investment in the arts and in particular to how much Manchester values the Cornerhouse?

Absolutely. I am as delighted as my hon. Friend and, indeed, everyone in Greater Manchester is at this exciting development, which will ensure that this site, building and institution go from strength to strength.

Culture can attract people to an area—I know that, because as a shy, young 18- year-old, the crucial factor that led me to choose to study in Manchester over anywhere else was probably my deep love of the Stone Roses, and Manchester is also home, of course, to The Smiths, Oasis, Joy Division and New Order. I could go on, but I fear I would lose some of the more venerable Members of the House!

Absolutely, but I do not have time to mention all of Manchester’s cultural attractions and would probably get into substantial difficulty if I tried to fit them in.

According to research by YouGov, young people from other countries are substantially more likely to be interested in work and business opportunities in the UK if they have been exposed to British art or cultural activities in some way. Our culture reaches investors and overseas markets that our diplomats and trade envoys cannot, boosting trade and encouraging foreign investment.

There is an even greater example of Greater Manchester’s cultural wealth, which until yesterday seemed to be at risk of closure. I refer, of course, to our beloved Museum of Science and Industry—MOSI—and I echo the previous remarks about it. It is a huge, universally recognised success. With between 600,000 and 800,000 visitors each year and more than 100,000 school visitors, its popularity reflects its quality. Anyone who has never been there is losing out. It is a museum for anyone who is interested in our nation’s history—anyone fascinated by stories of the extraordinary people whose remarkable feats built the Britain we know today and forged a revolution that would shape the world. It is a place of learning, inspiration and pride in our city’s —and our nation’s—industrial revolutionary past.

My favourite section of the museum, the Cottonopolis exhibition, tells the story of the cotton industry. It contains many original pieces of equipment from the mills, but MOSI is not just about the past, as it is also about inspiration for the future. It inspires people to remember a time of invention and technological breakthrough and the tremendous social change that followed it—and, indeed, our response to it. Every recess, I take my daughter to MOSI, and I can see a spark of inspiration in her eyes. She loves it, and so do I, and the idea of closing it down is simply unconscionable. The soul of our city is wrapped up in that museum, so it is no surprise that 40,000 people have already signed a petition organised by the Manchester Evening News to save it from closure. I absolutely welcome what the Minister said yesterday, but for me there is still some uncertainty about those remarks. Will he specifically address the situation of the northern museums and assure us all that they are safe from closure?

Our cultural institutions are invaluable educational resources and powerful economic multipliers. We must not overlook the value of museums like MOSI in the difference they make to the education of our children and the inspiration they give to greatness. We must protect the cultural hubs in our regions—the museums, the galleries, the music venues—because they are the breeding grounds of the cultural icons who become global adverts for our country, its economy and the opportunities within it. They spark the imagination of our children, foster the talents of our creative people and capture the attention of the whole world. We must not allow those opportunities to wither on the vine.

First, I draw the attention of Members to my declared interests.

The creative industries are our lifeblood. This is the third largest sector after manufacturing and financial services, but manufacturing is in decline, as we know, and financial services could move elsewhere at the drop of a hat. We are magnificent at the creative industries. They employ 1.5 million people and add £36 billion to the UK economy, and 10% of UK exports derive from the creative industries, but they are under threat from weak intellectual copyrights.

Let me explain. A Member of the other place once said to me he considers it to be the patriotic duty of every person who creates music to put it on the internet for free within two weeks. At the Vilnius UN Internet Governance Forum, which the Pirate party attended, many people said, “The internet is too complicated. Let’s just give everything away for free.” We must not do that; we must resist all attempts to do that. Instead, we must strengthen intellectual copyrights.

There are three steps to doing that. The first is the carrot. We need to change the business models. Kids will pay if they have the opportunity to do so, but if we make it too difficult, they will go elsewhere, to the free sites. The second step is education. Members may be aware of my competition, Rock the House. Over 300 constituencies are now involved in it, and the finals are next week. It educates MPs and the public at large. They see young bands putting forward their music, and they understand that those contributions need protecting. The Intellectual Property Office has a programme for extending education about intellectual property around the country, but I urge the Government to beef it up to give it more importance and make it more dynamic.

Thirdly, if the carrot and education fail, we must resort to the stick. I ask the Government to push forward with the proposals in the Digital Economy Act 2010. No matter how hastily it was pushed through under the last Government, we should still be looking to implement its good parts.

There are things we can do in respect of credit cards, too. One publishing company has all its product copied in an eastern European country, and people can pay for it through a monthly £10 subscription via a credit card, but the company does not see a penny of it. The credit card companies must be held accountable. Search engines must also be held accountable, and if internet service providers have been told they should block a certain site and they do not do so, they must be accountable, too. The stick must be a final resort, but it must be used if necessary.

I ask the Government to look at the practicality of the copyright extension measures. I was chatting to someone at Universal Music who said that the rules are impractical given the way that some of them are being implemented. I also ask them to consider secondary ticketing rules, which have been admirably championed by the hon. Member for Washington and Sunderland West (Mrs Hodgson), and urge swifter progress with the Digital Economy Act proposals.

However, having said all that, I do think the Government are basically on the right track and have made good progress on the creative sector. I mentioned live music in licensed premises earlier, and how the maximum attendance figures are being increased from 100 to 200 and up to 500. That is good; it will support pubs in our communities and live music in the creative sector. We are on the right track, therefore, so I will support the amendment.

I am sure the Minister is aware that today is the first day of the Edinburgh international film festival, which is just one of a number of film festivals around the UK. The Edinburgh festival will this year have 146 films from 53 countries. That serves to demonstrate the interest there is in film across the UK. Film festivals are important, and they drive that interest in film in the UK.

I want to speak briefly about a different film festival in Scotland—the Glasgow film festival. It is not a rival to the Edinburgh film festival, which is largely industry-driven, as Glasgow’s is a strongly, and highly successful, audience-led festival which has taken place over the past 10 years—I believe next year’s will be the 10th. Fortunately for me, the festival has coincided exactly with the February recess in the past couple of years, which has meant that I have been able to enjoy a number of its films.

I welcome what my hon. Friend is saying. I know that he is a keen supporter of the Glasgow film theatre, as am I, because I was involved when it was opened and when I was assistant director of the Scottish Film Council. Does he feel that the renaissance of the British and Scottish film industry owes a great deal to the former Chancellor and Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Mr Brown), who rightly judged the need for tax concessions?

Of course, my right hon. Friend is too modest to mention his own role in that as a distinguished former film Minister during that period. I hope to get time to make a point about the enduring nature of that support and the importance of its continuing into the future.

First, I wish to make a couple more remarks about the Glasgow film festival. My hon. Friend the Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North (Jim Sheridan) talked about the contribution of film making to the city of Glasgow. At last year’s festival, I saw “Cloud Atlas” and it was interesting to see streets just three or four blocks away from where I was sitting being represented as 1970s San Francisco. That demonstrates the ability and technical expertise in the film industry. The Drovers Inn, on the A84, where I have spent many a Hogmanay, was also in that film. It was not the greatest of films, but it was interesting to see. Those things are an indicator of the ability of Glasgow as a city, and as a city region in the west of Scotland, to drive that interest and investment in film, and of the greater contribution that film development makes to the wider economy. A number of people are in the city centre when some of these films are being made, just to see that happening. People came in during the early hours of the morning, when the streets were being shut off and the American taxis were around George square. It was amazing, and it really caught the interest and imagination of people.

The Glasgow film festival is a regional one and it has applied for lottery funding, to which the Government amendment refers. I place on the record that that support is very valued and I know it has been heavily oversubscribed. I am sure that the announcements are due soon and I hope that Glasgow will be successful. The film festival brings in very many people. It brings in not only people from in and around Glasgow, such as myself, but people from outwith Glasgow, from more widely in the UK and from overseas. The boost that that brings to the wider economy in terms of tourism and the hospitality industry is tangible and recognised, and it has helped to generate some sponsorship to go alongside the funding that the festival needs. It does need funding to be able to continue to bring that festival to life each year. I pay huge tribute to Jaki McDougall, Allison Gardner, Allan Hunter, Seonaid Daly and all the others who have been involved in the film festival over the past few years and have built it up to be the fastest-growing film festival in the whole UK. It certainly does deserve the support of lottery funding and the British Film Institute because of its approach.

For those reasons, I wanted to touch on the BFI-commissioned report by Oxford Economics indicating the very real contribution that film brings to the wider economy. This debate is about the economic contribution, and a huge amount comes to the UK through the film industry. We are talking about: 117,000 jobs; British film’s 15% share of the worldwide box office; the £1.7 billion in royalties in 2011 from British films shown overseas; and £2.1 billion in visitor spend in the UK from film tourism. So the industry has made a huge contribution, and it has been successful largely because of policies that developed over time—policies from the previous Government that have so far been continued. My right hon. Friend the Member for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill (Mr Clarke) made that point very well. That has happened because of that support, which must continue. The wider economic and cultural benefits are clear to see. I want to see many more representations of Glasgow as San Francisco and actors as zombies, to repeat the clarification that my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North (Jim Sheridan) made earlier, so that I do not offend any of my constituents. Those benefits can come about only with sustained and continued support for the film sector. It is vital. It brings so much culturally and economically, and many are concerned that in the drive to reduce support for arts, the film industry will suffer, although it provides a great deal that we should all be hugely proud of.

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for your indulgence. I had to pop out of the Chamber at the beginning of the debate for a long-standing parliamentary engagement.

Given the time constraints, I shall make three quick points about why Liverpool has kept its clear commitment to the cultural sector, despite the unacceptable budgetary pressures foisted on it by this coalition Government. First—I speak from the unique perspective of having been the Lord Mayor of Liverpool during our year as the European capital of culture—it is evident that the creative industries and tourism continue to drive economic well-being at a time when the ability of pubic bodies to spend money on the sector has, unfortunately, been significantly reduced.

Secondly, during 2008 I saw at first hand arts and culture used as a catalyst for the creation of tangible benefits across the city, which included its physical transformation, infrastructural improvement and economic regeneration. In so doing, the creative industries brought about a civic pride and a renewed collective confidence that engaged people and inspired them to participate in imaginative activities. I do not mind admitting that I had never truly appreciated Gustav Klimt, for instance, until an exhibition of his works at the Tate gallery in Liverpool opened my eyes. I, like many hundreds of thousands of people, had their appetites whetted and to this day we are seeing record numbers of visitors in our museums and galleries across the city. I think we are the only city in the UK to build a brand-new museum in the past 80-odd years, with the development of the purpose-built museum of Liverpool on the world-famous banks of our waterfront. The net result was that culture in its widest sense helped draw disparate sections and generations of our community together and provided a focus for creativity, education and health and well-being.

But the progress that we have made is in severe danger, and this is my third point. The arts in the regions are under threat and they will remain in a critical condition until the Government outline a clear strategic vision of how they intend to support the arts and creative sector across the whole country. Unfortunately, there remains uncertainty about whether the arts in the regions will be able to sustain themselves and in some cases even survive, let alone expand their visitor offer. This is not simply an arts question that can be dismissed by the Minister and nonchalantly passed over to the Arts Council to deal with. I agree with arts for all, but this is a fundamental economic question about the role of individual cities and organisations within those cites, that both provide jobs and attract inward investment to places outside the capital.

We have seen today that it is only the Labour party that is making the economic, business, educational and council-led argument for the sector. The acute danger for Liverpool and the whole of England, which the Government must begin to address, is that the scenario in which large swathes of city centres could become devoid of theatres, galleries and other cultural institutions is becoming ever more real. The Government must establish and promote a clear vision for the role of culture and creativity in UK cities and recognise that London is the world leader in the field—we do not argue with that—and its ability to generate money through philanthropic contributions is far greater than cities such as Liverpool. In fact, philanthropy remains one of the killer ingredients in the funding cocktail for regional arts organisations. According to the latest arts and business private investment in culture survey, which was released last month, more than 90% of all private giving goes to arts organisations in London. By anyone’s standards, that is phenomenally disproportionate. It is time for leadership for the regions, and it is time for the three Ministers, all representing seats in the south-east, to think again about the regional implications of their cuts before large parts of the cultural sector in cities such as Liverpool are lost forever.

I will not talk about the wider economic benefit of regeneration by the use of culture, which I hope will be demonstrated in my constituency and which is admirably demonstrated by many other places around the country, particularly in Gateshead. I am particularly impressed by how it has used cultural services to regenerate an area. Instead, I want to focus my remarks on libraries. Any debate about the arts and creative industries worth its name must include a focus on libraries, contributing as they do so fundamentally to social mobility, literacy and skills development, creative and cultural activity, building economic capacity and helping to safeguard intellectual property. Sitting at the heart of our communities, public libraries are for everyone. They enrich lives and support the wider arts and creative industries, and our economic well-being.

I want to give three examples of why I believe that libraries are so important and why I am absolutely passionate about them. First, they are a gateway for personal development. They fuel aspiration and creativity and they contribute to economic capacity. Secondly, they bring people together in a way that other institutions simply cannot do. They are a safe space where people can congregate. They build the fabric of our communities. They are a real communal space that is free for all. Thirdly, they are a means to reduce social exclusion, which in itself carries an economic benefit for our communities.

My hon. Friend makes a powerful defence of public libraries. Does she share my concerns about Croydon council, which is not only proposing to privatise its libraries, but to hand them over to the bidder that offered the worst value for money of the three bids that it received?

I am sad to hear that about Croydon libraries. I visited Croydon libraries in my role as a Local Government Association libraries spokesperson and I thought that they were rather good. That they are being privatised is distressing, especially given that the previous Tory Government did not go that far with its compulsory competitive tendering. It is a real shame that Croydon feels that that is where it needs go.

Libraries make such a contribution to our economy and society that spending on them should be seen as an investment. They host job clubs and Open university access. They provide computer training and internet access for families and micro-businesses that would otherwise be excluded. They provide literacy and numeracy classes that help combat disadvantage and allow people to thrive. All of that is at the grassroots level, at the heart of our very community.

Yet libraries are under more stress than ever before. On top of library closures, surveys uncover reduced hours, higher charges and less outreach to schools. School holiday activities are being cut and volunteers are replacing trained, skilled library staff, as if a librarian is like someone at a checkout counter at Asda or Morrisons. Being a librarian is so much more than just giving out a book.

But my main focus today is to talk to the Minister about how libraries might be developed and safeguarded in the future, in the context of a strategy for the arts and creativity. Libraries absolutely deserve leadership, attention and support, and I am concerned that they are not getting them.

Ministers will recall breaking up the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. I must say that I did not mourn the passing of that organisation, but I am disappointed that the Government reduced the libraries budget that was transferred to Arts Council England and think that they missed a trick. I believe that they should have followed the approach widely advocated in the sector at the time by establishing a development agency. It would have been quite realistic to do that within the available financial envelope and would have made a better and more effective use of the moneys that previously went to the MLAC.

Indeed, it has been argued that such a development agency could provide the leadership that would enable local library services to make the necessary savings or to demonstrate their contribution to the wider social good in a way that allowed councils to understand their economic and social value. I want to see a development agency created because I think that we need confident leadership of our libraries in order to secure future library evolution, the development of our libraries and the success of a modern library service in England.

I think that there are indications that the Minister shares my analysis of the problem. In a recent speech he talked about the Government appointing a specialist adviser on libraries to work with local authorities and Arts Council England to consider different approaches to library service provision and new ways of thinking about sustainability. I believe that a development agency would have delivered on that for him. Forgive me for saying it, but appointing a recently retired head of service on a part-time basis, however good he might be, will hardly address the leadership vacuum that continues to bedevil the public libraries sector. Furthermore, I understand that Arts Council England is about to be restructured, with the result that it will have not a single post focused solely on libraries. That is massive disappointment and can lead only to the dilution of libraries.

Arts and culture enrich everyone’s lives and, importantly, enable our children to learn and develop their potential, and they bring communities together. We heard about an excellent example in the speech made by my hon. Friend the Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Jonathan Reynolds), who talked about how the history of Greater Manchester is embedded in its arts and music venues, although I was slightly surprised that he did not include the Hacienda.

One of the best examples of all those benefits is the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, which was mentioned earlier. The museum, like others in the Science Museum Group, has been under threat of closure due to a proposed 10% cut in the group’s funding. The threat has been countered by a great campaign run by the Manchester Evening News. As my hon. Friend the Member for Stalybridge and Hyde said, tens of thousands of local people came out to support the museum.

What I want to discuss is the impact on Greater Manchester’s communities if we lost the Museum of Science and Industry. Free access to museums, introduced when Labour was in government, had a dramatic effect on visitor numbers at the museum. In fact, the annual visitor total grew from 289,000 in 2000-01 to 833,000 in 2011-12. Visitor numbers could grow further, because refurbishments will mean that the museum could support 1 million visitors annually, making it not just an important regional museum, but a national museum, which is what it is.

It is not just about numbers. As we heard earlier, those of us who visit museums with young family members—I have visited them with family members under five—know that they get a great deal out of a visit, both in fun and in learning. Of over 800,000 people who visit the museum annually, 100,000 are children, and 22,000 children visit its workshops. The workshop events and resources are provided up to key stage 4 in history and science, but there are also science-themed workshops for the under-fives to enjoy. The museum is a major centre for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network—STEMNET. Some 70% of Greater Manchester’s schools have benefited from expertise in STEMNET subjects, and that is an important link for our schools. The museum also established the Manchester science festival to inspire and engage people in science. Indeed, in 2011 the festival reached 113,000 people, with 200 events in 50 venues. Supporters of the museum have been clear about the impact of closure. Dame Nancy Rothwell, president of the university of Manchester and one of Britain’s most esteemed scientists, said that the museum had an international reputation and, importantly, that it

“can also help inspire young people…to become enthused by science”

and engineering.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right about the museum’s value to young people across Greater Manchester in respect of how we proceed with the area’s economic development. Greater Manchester is the home of the world’s first passenger railway station—the Liverpool and Manchester railway opened in 1830 and is now the base of the museum—and has seen the development of graphene and future technological advances. The museum is at the heart of that and education is key to its success.

Absolutely. My hon. Friend echoes the words of Dame Nancy Rothwell. She thinks the museum is responsible for making young people consider careers in science and engineering. Her views are echoed by Tim O’Brien, the astrophysicist from Jodrell Bank observatory, who said:

“Museums like Mosi play a vital role in celebrating modern day science as well as our industrial heritage…I have no doubt at all that these places make future scientists and engineers and are vital to our future productivity.”

The museum is free, so everyone can visit. The growth in visitor numbers that I mentioned shows that we must maintain that. Part of the threat coming from the 10% cut has been a discussion about introducing some form of charging. Two-thirds of the 800,000 visitors to the museum came in family groups. Many of the parents supporting the campaign to save the Museum of Science and Industry have made it clear that turning up as a family to the museum if it charged, as it used to, would make for a very expensive day out.

Given MOSI’s importance to families and the future students of science and engineering in our region, it is vital for me to seek reassurance that it is not under threat of closure. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester Central (Lucy Powell) would say the same if she were here; I am very much putting forward points that she would have made in this debate had she had the opportunity.

I understand that the Minister has told the BBC that the Science Museum Group is not to receive 10% cuts. Will he confirm that in this House? It is all right to make those points to the BBC, but they should be made here. If there are announcements about the funding of important museums such as the Museum of Science and Industry, we should, frankly, hear about them first in this House—that, of course, is a point that we Opposition Members are always making.

We have also heard in this debate that the Science Museum Group has a large and growing structural deficit. Will the Minister also address not just the immediate threat of the 10% cuts but how MOSI and other museums in the group can maintain their buildings and connections? The Museum of Science and Industry is truly part of the fabric of the city that was the birthplace of the industrial revolution. We have to maintain and develop it.

The people of north-east England hold a tremendous passion for the arts. Since the late 1990s, the region has developed a budding significance in the creative industries, spurred by finances made available under the last Labour Government, as well as from the EU and the national lottery.

The placing of the now-iconic Angel of the North welcomed in a new era for the region.

Does my hon. Friend recognise that we owe a debt of gratitude to the people of Hartlepool, where the Angel of the North was made? Last weekend marked the sculpture’s 15th birthday.

My hon. Friend is also an angel; I congratulate him and my hon. Friend the Member for Hartlepool (Mr Wright)—who personally constructed the angel, if we are to believe some of the stories that I have been hearing.

During the decade that followed the erection of the Angel of the North, some £350 million was invested in new and established arts venues, which saw the beginning of an under-recognised British success story. It has provided a major boost to the regional economy and resulted in the creation of not hundreds but thousands of jobs across the culture and tourism sectors. The result of that clever combination of investment and foresight is that the north-east, often one of Britain’s poorest and most deprived areas by many other measures, has established some of the finest creative arts infrastructure in the entire country.

We can boast of not only international attractions such as the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and the Sage Gateshead concert hall, both in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead (Ian Mearns), but national and regional establishments such as the ARC in Stockton and the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art.

I am not from the north-east myself, but it strikes me that this is being driven by many visionary Labour councillors in the area.

That is very much the case, none more so than in the work of the leader of Gateshead metropolitan borough council.

A huge variety of other events and festivals grace our region every year, such as the Stockton international riverside festival, and we celebrate some of the largest-scale street festivals in the world. The Billingham international folklore festival, which also takes place in my constituency, will mark its 50th anniversary in 2014.

It is a colossal failure that the Government do not grasp the importance of the sector to the regions. They are missing an opportunity to integrate cultural programmes into the agendas of multiple Departments to safeguard the legacy that previous investment has produced. Culture and the arts not only enhance our lives and promote the ability to achieve our potential; they also support a creative sector that was forecast to grow by 31% by 2020. The additional cuts to the DCMS budget will therefore come at a huge cost, threatening to kill growth stone dead and denying many the opportunity to access the artistic and cultural experiences that shape individuals and help define communities.

The basis for the severity of the cuts is framed in a simple economic argument—that spending on the arts is difficult to justify—yet last week the Arts Council published independent economic analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research that found that the sector currently makes up 0.4% of GDP compared with just 0.1% of investment. For every pound of subsidy provided to the arts and culture industry, the sector returned a £7 contribution to GDP. That is a higher return than that from the health and wholesale and retail industries, and it blows the economic viability argument out of the water.

Stockton, at the heart of my constituency, is renowned for delivering a host of arts and culture events with great success. Audiences at events such as the riverside festival and the Stockton Weekender continue to grow year on year. The riverside festival—which this year features “Prometheus Awakes”, a model that is almost as high as this Chamber, and various other performances by local, national and international participants—was central to bringing the Cultural Olympiad to the north-east. Some 80,000 people flocked to the town to experience the events.

It is important, however, to see beyond the obvious economic benefits. The impact of the sector can be seen in many ways, not least in the increased involvement in the arts. ARC arts centre in my constituency is a case in point. Since opening 13 years ago, ARC has developed into a flagship, multi-purpose cultural venue, hosting hundreds of events a year, from music and dance to theatre, film and comedy. As a direct result, engagement has increased substantially. ARC hosted 230 professional performances, as well as 80 community performances, last year alone and this attracted more than 100,000 visitors. It is of real benefit to our economy.

Similarly, more than 100 artists are employed to provide 1,000 creative learning opportunities, enjoyed by more than 14,000 people. That has provided professional development and training opportunities for more than 200 artists and practitioners. With evidence showing that emerging partnering between creative industries and schools has the potential to improve the productivity and learning and earning potential of young people, our future would be markedly bleaker without proper access to the arts.

Just across the River Tees, at the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, 18,000 people took part in formal and informal programmes last year, and it delivered a series of creative workshops in conjunction with Teesside university occupational therapy students for dementia patients and their carers. That highlights perfectly the level of innovation that the creative industries can generate, ensuring significant benefits and stronger communities.

To hammer home the case for Stockton and everywhere else, and in case naysayers have any doubt, recent figures suggest that ARC now generates about £4.5 million annually for Stockton’s local economy. If that does not signify value added—both socially and culturally, as well as economically—I do not know what does.

The arts are a valuable commodity—this much is true. Their real value, however, lies in the wealth of other benefits that they bring. Support for our creative industries is key to encouraging and nurturing the talents and appreciation that were unearthed only relatively recently. Slashing funding to the Arts Council and local government while sidelining creative education is not the way to do that.

I am delighted to participate in the debate. I am a passionate supporter of our arts and creative industries, not just because I love them, but because the sector employs 1.5 million throughout the country and is worth £36 billion a year. National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts research estimates that the sector could generate up to 9.7% of UK gross value added. Many hon. Members have made vibrant contributions in the past couple of hours—we have heard inspiring stories of great British imagination, ingenuity, creativity and design.

The social contribution that our regional arts and creative industries make is tremendous. They bring communities together, enable us to express our identity, assist people with health and well-being, and help people to fulfil their potential in so many ways. Nowhere do our arts and creative industries make more of an impact than in Liverpool, where we have such a rich, vibrant and dynamic cultural hub, which has deep historical roots. Liverpool was awarded capital of culture in 2008, which my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Steve Rotheram) mentioned, and has gone from strength to strength.

Liverpool city council has a portfolio of 47 cultural organisations, which between them receive an annual core grant. They include the big seven Liverpool Arts Regeneration Consortium organisations: Bluecoat; the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology; the Liverpool biennial, which is the second largest visual arts festival in Europe; the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse theatres; the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, which is the oldest in the country; and Tate Liverpool. In 2011-12, they delivered 1,278 performances, exhibitions and events, sold half a million tickets, supported more than 1,000 people in full-time jobs in the Liverpool city region and gave opportunities to 881 volunteers. As a group, they are involved in specific programmes to educate young people within the city region, and to support the vulnerable, including work with veterans. They promote health and well-being, and improve and support aspiration.

The other 40 organisations in the hub include many of our annual festivals—I am looking forward to celebrating and enjoying Africa Oyé this weekend. Not a weekend goes by in Liverpool when we do not have a festival or something to celebrate and enjoy. We have had the river festival and music on the waterfront. We had the Liverpool Calling event just last weekend. Those events bring people together, provide education and make people feel good. They are crucial when many people up and down the country are having a difficult time.

Our local music industry is vibrant. The Liverpool Sound City event brought 40,000 people together. More than 360 artists performed on 25 different stages. Liverpool is perhaps the only city that has its own music awards, which we had back in November. We also have a vibrant film sector. Hon. Members might have seen the most recent “Fast and Furious” film, much of which was filmed in Liverpool. Many BBC dramas are filmed there—most recently, “Good Cop”.

In my constituency, our video games sector includes the fantastic Sony, which is developing many games that people play daily. I should also mention the dance sector and the Merseyside dance institute. Many organisations—I cannot do them all justice—do so much fantastic work, but they do so despite the onslaught from central Government. Liverpool has had a cut of £1,250 per person. As my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman) said in her opening speech, that fantastic work is testimony to the leadership of Joe Anderson, our mayor, and the cabinet lead, Wendy Simon, who have done their best to maintain the support those organisations receive. As my right hon. and learned Friend said, the sector is the rocket fuel of our economy. I implore the Government to consider seriously what more they can do to support the sector, which is so important for us locally within Liverpool and throughout the country.

The Secretary of State talked a lot about philanthropy. I welcome the generosity of so many people, but 70% of that philanthropy is in London. I therefore urge the Government again to consider seriously what more they can do to support our arts, culture and creative industries in the regions.

The Secretary of State made a point about the national lottery, which supports projects in the Westminster constituency some 300 times more than it supports projects in my constituency. I am sure the situation is the same for her constituency. That is a key factor.

I thank my hon. Friend for that contribution. That is the reason for the debate that we are having. Although there have been fantastic contributions from Members from Greater London, we need to look beyond London and the south-east and think about how we can support creative industries across the UK.

I have one specific question that I hope the Minister will respond to at the end of the debate. He will know that the International Festival for Business is coming to Liverpool next year. That is a national event that is supported personally by the Prime Minister and is receiving a lot of financial resources from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Will the Minister consider and share with the House what support he can extend to that event on the cultural side? There is concern that although Liverpool is well equipped to provide a fantastic cultural offer to support the event, which will do a lot to attract inward investment to the country, that offer will not be possible without the support of the DCMS.

I will focus on the industry part of the creative industries. The creative industries should be a key part of any industrial strategy. They employ 1.5 million people in this country, generate more than £36 billion for the UK and account for a 10th of all UK exports. I will go through the different sectors.

The British film industry directly employs 44,000 people and generates £2.1 billion of foreign sales every year. Like other hon. Members, I welcome the Government’s continuation of Labour’s film tax relief, which provides long-term certainty to investors and allows the filming of international blockbusters to take place in Britain. I particularly welcome the fact that “Star Wars: Episode VII” will be shot in the UK. I hope that it will be more like “The Empire Strikes Back” than “The Phantom Menace”.

The UK music industry is also an astonishing international success story. My hon. Friend the Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Jonathan Reynolds) stole my thunder by mentioning the Stone Roses, who I went to see at Glasgow Green on Saturday night, as well as Joy Division and New Order. Given that I follow my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Luciana Berger), perhaps I should mention that yesterday was Sir Paul McCartney’s 71st birthday. Why he is not yet Lord McCartney of Penny Lane baffles me.

Our strength in music is not confined to the Beatles or even to the Stone Roses and New Order. British artists had 13.3% of global album sales last year, which is the highest on record. British music accounted for one in seven of all artist album sales in 2012, which is again the highest share ever recorded. UK artists have claimed the spot of the world’s No. 1 selling album for five of the last six years. Last year, five of the top 10 global sellers were by British artists. British music leads the world.

Does my hon. Friend agree that our creative industries, especially music and film, are under severe threat from piracy? On Google, the top sites for music downloads are pirate sites. Does he agree that we must encourage Google to make greater efforts and be more co-operative in the fight against piracy?

My hon. Friend makes a fair point. If I have time, the central part of what I want to say is that a strong and stable intellectual property regime, with protection for copyright, is vital.

Our publishing industry is the fifth largest on Earth. More than two-fifths of the revenue from the publishing sector is generated from export sales, which is more than in any other nation. The video games industry is one of the fastest growing parts of the world economy and Britain is seen as the pioneer in games design and innovation.

My hon. Friend is making a great case for the strength of the cultural and creative industries in the UK, and the music industry in particular. Will he join me in congratulating the BRIT school, which is located in the constituency that I have the pleasure to represent, for the great contribution that it has made to the music industry, not least through artists such as Amy Winehouse and Adele?

My hon. Friend makes an important point. One of the themes that I hope to get to in my contribution is that there must be co-ordination in Government policy to support our leading industrial sectors.

The creative industries are complementary to our manufacturing sector. In many ways, modern British manufacturing has a leading edge because we emphasise the importance of design and innovation. Jaguar Land Rover is able to sell its cars around the world because the UK company is designing beautiful well made and engineered cars. Our publishing industry both reflects and fuels our country’s strong scientific research and university base. A vibrant film and TV industry facilitates engineering and production skills and jobs. The emergence of 3D printing will unleash creativity on an unprecedented scale, emphasising even more the importance of great design and innovation combined with bespoke manufacture.

I went to see MakieLab, a firm in Shoreditch that manufactures personalised dolls using 3D printing. The company’s computer programmers and designers have fine arts degrees. In 21st-century global manufacturing, those countries able to combine design and creativity with manufacturing and engineering will have the competitive edge. Britain is well placed to take advantage of that combination as we traditionally enjoy skills in those fields, but it needs a proper industrial strategy, backed by a Government who are committed to growth in our leading sectors such as the creative industries.

Just as business policies should not merely reside in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, so cultural industries cannot be the sole preserve of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Co-ordination across Government, with an emphasis on helping our leading sectors such as the creative industries, should be the Government’s priority although I see precious little evidence of that. The Government’s education reforms are not helping creativity with their emphasis on learning by rote, and changes to things such as the design and technology curriculum work contrary to the country’s economic strengths and the skills needed to compete in the modern, technologically literate age.

The Government’s policy on intellectual property is misguided, and I am pleased it is referenced explicitly in today’s Opposition motion. Britain has always succeeded best when it has embraced innovation and originality, from the industrial revolution to the internet. We have never rested on being copycats, but that originality and innovation requires a stable and strong IP regime. An incoherent or ad hoc framework for intellectual property, made on the hoof, prevents investment and jobs from coming to these shores, undermines competitiveness and inhibits innovation. Sadly, we have exactly that approach from this Government. For example, the manner in which they are dealing with exceptions to copyright has undermined certainty and deterred investment in this country. The provisions recently published by the Government propose forbidding the contracting over of exceptions, which fundamentally alters contract law, almost as a casual consequence of the secondary legislation, and that will put off even further potentially hundreds of millions of pounds of investment.

It is important that the Government view the creative industries not only as socially and culturally significant, but increasingly as a means to pay our way and define ourselves with the rest of the world. That requires recognition of how important the industry is, and a co-ordinated approach across Government. I think we lack that with the present Government, and our competitiveness is being undermined as a result.

I am pleased to contribute to this debate as a Northern Ireland MP, and I congratulate the Backbench Business Committee on tabling this motion—[Interruption.]

I am blessed that less than a minute’s walk from my constituency office in Newtownards is the Ards Arts Centre in our historic town hall. Within that centre are some of the most unique and I believe magnificent expressions of art—from people all over Northern Ireland, but more specifically from my constituency. If someone takes the time to wander through that area, they will experience all the emotions that the artists intended, which is a beautiful thing.

There is a difference of opinion in the Chamber about how funding for the arts and creative industries will continue, but we have a commitment from everyone on the importance of the arts in their constituencies. I know that schools in Northern Ireland—in particular many grammar schools—may have a compulsory art class, but there is more emphasis on science, technology, engineering and maths than on artistic subjects. There is nothing wrong with that, because it is important to have job opportunities, but it is also essential that funds are available for after-school and community clubs.

In my constituency the local council pays for artists to go to community groups and help people learn how to express themselves through art and the creative industries. I am aware that the Eastend residents association in Newtownards in my constituency had a project with its women’s group that saw the ladies crafting butterflies and other animals. Those butterflies were exquisite by themselves when the ladies showed each individual piece, but when shown as a collection they were stunning. In that art project a clear message was given: an individual can be enhanced by being an intricate part of a community—in other words, part of a team.

In order to achieve such results and allow people who felt they had no artistic talent to learn that they could be part of creating something visually pleasing, those programmes must have funding, which is why I support the motion. Those who are ill and not able to work should be reminded that they can create and do something precious with their time. That building up of self-esteem can change lives.

There are, of course, economic benefits to be had from the creative industries, but we have not yet fully realised their potential. Nick Livingston, director of strategic development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, recently said that a growing number of local businesses were recognising the benefits that the creative arts could bring to their organisations. It is encouraging that in the past year Arts & Business Northern Ireland has invested more than £170,000 in supporting such partnerships via its investment programme, which, through the Arts Council and supported by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, has invested £1 million over the past five years. In addition, there has been funding to support businesses of more than £5.2 million.

There must be more of that kind of investment to unleash the potential and enable people to realise what they can achieve through the arts. The Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee in the Northern Ireland Assembly recently produced an interesting report on the creative arts in Northern Ireland stating that within

“this Inquiry report, the Committee has illustrated its awareness of the close economic relationship between the Creative Industries and other sectors including tourism, hospitality, museums and galleries, heritage and sport, and the social economy and community and voluntary sectors. As a result of these links the Committee has been very specific in calling for increased co-operation between Executive Departments, their arms-length bodies, agencies etc., and local government, industry, educational bodies and the community and voluntary and social economy sectors.”

It says that we must all work together, which Departments have shown a willingness to do.

The regions of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland have a vast range of cultures: the Scots have theirs, the Welsh have theirs, and in Northern Ireland we have ours in the Ulster Scots culture, and there is also the Irish influence from the Republic. The Northern Ireland film industry is growing. “Game of Thrones”, which I hope many in the Chamber watch, is an example of that. Many film companies are shooting in Northern Ireland—a different sort of shooting from what we are used to in Northern Ireland. It is the sort of shooting we want to see; the sort of shooting that creates prosperity through the film industry without creating the pain there was in the past. The creative industries are active in my constituency—in jewellery, books, tourist gifts, clothing and ceramics, all of which are encouraged by the Arts Council and supported by the local council and the Northern Ireland Assembly. Jobs have been created and opportunities have been made available, resulting in a boost to the economy from the money generated.

There are benefits to be reaped, but we must first sow the seeds, and I believe that that should begin and continue. If it does, the harvest will be significant.

It is a great privilege to speak on the day that Swansea was shortlisted for the city of culture 2017. People will know Swansea Bay city from people such as Richard Burton, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, R. T. Davies, who wrote “Dr Who”, the people from “Gavin and Stacey”—the list goes on. Of course, Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea 100 years ago next year, so there will be a great celebration there then. I spoke with the Minister yesterday about the need to amplify that globally. We will have a reception to which ambassadors will be invited.

We hope that Swansea Bay city will be open for business now and into the future to celebrate literature, music and dance. There is enormous cultural momentum in Swansea. People will be aware of the beautiful sands of the Gower beaches and of its sporting excellence—Swansea City are now in the premier league, which means that billions of people will now know about Swansea. To that known name, we are attaching these cultural brand values. We also have thriving universities at the cutting edge of various technologies. People have mentioned 3D printing, but there is also Tata Steel, which is working with multi-layered steel that insulates new buildings in a way that creates heat. On top of that, we have an enormous amount of tourism. It is a hub of cultural activity. The second university, the Met, is at the forefront of 3D animation, computer graphics, glass staining and so on.

That enormous amount of activity underlines how huge are the opportunities to invest in culture and creativity. We are in the middle of a political struggle over growth and cuts to get down the deficit. Over 10 years, the last Labour Government increased British GDP by 40% and doubled the gross value added of the creative industries—as people have mentioned, it is now worth £36 billion.

Lottery funding is a crucial part of how we fund our arts and culture. My hon. Friend will know that the national lottery provides constituency breakdowns for where the cash is spent. I would also like to see constituency breakdowns for where tickets are purchased, so that we can see whether areas such as Ashfield are getting their fair share of the cash.

That is a critical point. When I was a member of the Public Accounts Committee, the National Audit Office published figures that showed that the poorest areas pay for the richer areas who have cricket clubs and so on. Middle-class communities put in bids and take the money from people who are investing elsewhere. There should be progressive redistribution from the lottery. I hope there will be more bids to the heritage lottery to support initiatives to celebrate the Dylan Thomas centenary, but the point is well made.

The so-called middle classes, as measured by the OECD, are growing at an enormous rate in developing countries. In China, they have grown from 3% to 20% of the population; in India, they have grown from 2% to 10%. With that growth, we see much greater visitor numbers. The amount that visitors are spending has gone up by 30% in the past five years. It seems strange that we are not investing in marketing and infrastructure to maximise these opportunities, but are penny pinching instead.

On the film industry, my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North (Jim Sheridan) mentioned that a scene from the film “World War Z” was filmed in Glasgow. “Da Vinci’s Demons” is being filmed in the Swansea Bay city region, and is providing an enormous number of new jobs. Filming “The Hobbit” in New Zealand led to a 40% increase in visitors, and there was a 17% increase in average spend due to the “Lord of the Rings”. We therefore need to invest.

We also need to have the right sort of education, unlike what is being pioneered by the Secretary of State for Education, who is going back to a sort of “Tom Brown’s Schooldays”. James Dyson recently mentioned that the Secretary of State’s removal of coursework will harm creativity and problem-solving. That does not just affect modern manufacturing. Our added value is about applying creativity and problem-solving to the arts, music and the whole mix to have a point of difference in the global marketplace. Going back in time will not prepare us for an ever-changing world.

I am proud that Swansea has done well today. It is part of a growing cultural British offer. Culture and creativity define our identity and past, and are an engine for growth in an ever-fiercer global marketplace. Without further ado, I will leave my remarks there.

This has been an interesting and varied debate, ranging from libraries to museums and to more contemporary issues. It has been a pleasure to sit through it all.

We have heard how many jobs there are in the creative industries, the contribution they make to GDP and how they account for around £1 in every £10 of the UK’s exports. The sector is one of the fastest growing in the economy, and is forecast to grow by 31% by 2020. The arts budget is tiny, but brings big returns. The current investment is 14p per person per week, which is equal to approximately 0.05% of total Government spending. I was told that the former Culture Secretary, the right hon. Member for South West Surrey (Mr Hunt) described the budget as equivalent to

“a rounding error at the Department of Health”,

his new Department. That is why it would be entirely counter-productive to cut arts funding at this time. Cutting investment makes no sense when we need to kick-start the economy. We have seen this in Bristol, where cultural investment is helping to attract visitors and drive regeneration.

My hon. Friend is, like me, a strong supporter of the cultural hub developing between Bristol and Cardiff in the south-west of England and south Wales. Is she aware that 60% of the funding for the Welsh National Opera, which is based in my constituency, comes from the Arts Council England, because it does 60% of its work in England? Damaging the arts and creative industries in England could have a negative impact on Wales. We need a strong and thriving industry on both sides of the border.

I think in Bristol we have not yet quite forgiven Wales for stealing “Casualty” from us, but I appreciate what my hon. Friend says about the links between cultural institutions and the important work that Cardiff does elsewhere.

It is impossible to talk about Bristol without mentioning the Oscar-winning Aardman and the amazing output of the BBC’s natural history unit, which is a real money-spinner for the BBC and funds its other work. It is estimated that the Banksy exhibition in 2009 brought £10 million into the city and doubled the turnover of local businesses during the height of the recession.

Back in 1975, the Arnolfini centre for contemporary arts was an important part of the regeneration of the Bristol harbour site. In 2002, Andrew Kelly, the director of the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership described it as

“one of the first examples in the United Kingdom of the arts used for encouraging inward investment and economic regeneration leading…to a likely total investment in the site of £600 million and the creation of over 3,500 jobs”.

Now, we are creating an enterprise zone in the Bristol Temple quarter with a focus on the creative and digital sector, and Arts Council funding has been approved for artworks at the historic Bristol Temple Meads station, which will act as a gateway to the quarter. There are also plans for a long-awaited and much-needed arena. When Sir Peter Bazalgette, the chair of Arts Council England, visited Bristol earlier this year, he said that it was a city that had “got things right”, highlighting strong partnership working in particular.

It is important that funding for the arts in Bristol should continue. Bristol Old Vic and the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership, which was praised by the Arts Council chair as an example of a “great regional arts alliance”, have both already received significant cuts. Funding cuts are disproportionately affecting educational programmes such as the Acta community theatre in Bristol, which last year worked with 1,000 people of all ages and backgrounds, over 80% of whom had never been to a theatre.

In Bristol, it is not just the highbrow, publicly funded, mainstream creative scene that is thriving; the city is also renowned for its counter-culture scene. Banksy is obviously the most notable example of that. A 2010 PRS for Music survey showed Bristol as the UK’s most musical city, with more songwriters per capita originating from the city than from any other place. Bristol is probably best known for the groundbreaking group of musicians that emerged in the 1990s and included Massive Attack, Tricky, Portishead and Roni Size. I have talked to DJ Krust, who was involved in that scene, about its DIY ethos. Those involved started by putting on events in empty warehouses and no one turned up. Eventually, however, they started selling tickets and created an incredibly innovative scene that influences people to this day. It emerged in a similar way to the punk scene that sprang from squats in London and elsewhere in the 1970s.

DJ Krust told me that those involved did not need or want public funding. That raises interesting questions about how we can ensure that such creativity thrives without the stultifying effect of trying to get funding, assessing outcomes and all the bureaucracy that goes with that. We need to support it, perhaps simply by not repressing it. The Minister once confessed to me that he was an ardent fan of the Redskins, and he will understand the point that I am making. As well as the Adeles and Coldplays of this world, we need acts that are innovative and edgy and that have something important to say.

I join my neighbour in celebrating the artistic creativity of our city. Perhaps she would like to visit the Bristol Institute of Modern Music, which is based in King Square in my constituency, where a lot of the pop musicians of the future are being trained without public subsidy.

I am well aware of the institute, and I hope to visit it at some point.

My final point is linked to what I was just saying. It is increasingly difficult for musicians to make a living these days, due to the growth of piracy and illegal downloading and to the growing prevalence of low pay and no pay in the creative industries. Recent research by the Musicians’ Union showed that more than half of professional musicians worked for less than £20,000 a year and that 60% had worked for free over the past year. This is not just a problem for musicians; it is an issue across many creative industries. Equity’s most recent survey of members found that over 69% earned either nothing or under £10,000 a year. We need to get a grip on this situation; otherwise, we could end up with a British music scene that, although still successful, was dominated by the privately educated, the winners of “The X Factor” and products of the BRIT school. A survey in 2010 found that 60% of acts in the charts had attended private school, compared with just 1% two decades ago.

A number of Members have mentioned the Stone Roses. Someone told me earlier that they had seen the brilliant Shane Meadows film about them that has just come out. They said that we just do not get bands like that any more—working class lads who have made good and really inspired other people from the same background as them. Now, it is all Mumford and Sons. I do not know whether the Minister is a fan of theirs, but I know the Prime Minister is. It would be sad if that was the only music that could thrive in Britain today.

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak briefly. As a former member of the Musicians Union and a current member of the board of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, I will speak primarily for music, musicians and the wonderful music culture we have in Britain.

We are undoubtedly the leading nation in Europe when it comes to popular music, jazz and, I would argue, classical music, but that culture is in danger from cuts. Music is sustained by the Arts Council, but also by local authorities. The local authority in Luton sustains the Luton music service, an absolutely wonderful service that provides opportunities for literally hundreds and possibly thousands of working-class youngsters who would never have the opportunity to play or learn an instrument if it was not for the support of the local authority.

There is a class component in all this, because middle-class youngsters have their instruments bought for them by their parents and professional lessons paid for by their parents, but working-class kids need the support of local authorities. Local authority support for music is fundamental to sustaining, for the foreseeable future, the wonderful musical culture of which we are rightly proud. Luton is a prime example of what we do well. I want that to continue, which means that we must sustain local authority support and resist cuts to local authority music.

In our country, when we describe ourselves to others, we often rightly turn to the cultural and the creative. This debate, just before the comprehensive spending review, is timely because the arts and the creative industries are facing great challenges. That matters, because as David Lan, artistic director of the Young Vic theatre, has said:

“The arts and culture are not just what you do…at the weekend…They are everything that makes us see the world and live in it in the way we do”.

Our commitment to the arts is a reflection of the type of society we want to live in.

This has been a good debate, with a number of fine contributions. I am sure that all Members will be heartened by the interest in it. Let me begin by highlighting the brilliant maiden speech by my hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mrs Lewell-Buck). As the first woman to represent her constituency, she spoke with great passion. I know she will be a highly effective champion for her constituents and I am sure we all look forward to her contributions for many years to come.

We have also had some particularly timely contributions from those who have championed the value of their local cultural institutions. In particular, we heard some fine speeches about the future of the Science Museums Group, which was raised by my hon. Friends the Members for Stalybridge and Hyde (Jonathan Reynolds), for Worsley and Eccles South (Barbara Keeley) and for York Central (Hugh Bayley). My hon. Friend the Member for York Central spoke about the crossover between science and the arts, perfectly illustrating the point by talking about the influence that the National Railway museum had had on his son, who went on to become a railway engineer.

The hon. Member for Manchester, Withington (Mr Leech) rightly pointed out that it would be a mistake to go back to the days when national museums charged for entry. My hon. Friend the Member for Bradford South (Mr Sutcliffe) spoke with passion about the impact of the National Media museum on Bradford and pointed out the importance of forging new partnerships to help to reinvigorate the museum.

A number of contributions were about the positive impact of the arts and the creative industries on constituencies and regions. My hon. Friends the Members for Swansea West (Geraint Davies), for Paisley and Renfrewshire North (Jim Sheridan), for Birmingham, Northfield (Richard Burden), for Rutherglen and Hamilton West (Tom Greatrex) and for Stockton North (Alex Cunningham) and the hon. Members for Hove (Mike Weatherley), for Truro and Falmouth (Sarah Newton), for Daventry (Chris Heaton-Harris), for Strangford (Jim Shannon), for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) and for Lancaster and Fleetwood (Eric Ollerenshaw) all demonstrated the interest in the arts that exists among Members.

We also had some particularly valuable contributions that reflected more generally on the value of the arts. The Chair of the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport rightly paid tribute to the last Labour Government’s support of the arts. Obviously I completely agree with him. He also raised the issue of the flexibility of national lottery funding, which is something we should definitely consider. My right hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr Bradshaw) and my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent Central (Tristram Hunt) spoke with great passion and knowledge about the value that the arts add to our national life. My hon. Friend the Member for Hartlepool (Mr Wright) rightly reflected on the importance of cross-Government co-operation to support the creative industries.

Finally—I know that he would not want me to miss him out—the hon. Member for North Swindon (Justin Tomlinson) rightly raised the importance of the video games industry and the huge contribution it makes to the economy. He also rightly raised the important subject of libraries. My hon. Friend the Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown) correctly said that libraries bring us together as a community. Libraries provide a unique public space for individuals and communities to access services, to read and to learn, but cuts to local government mean there is rightly concern about their future.

As has been reflected in the debate, we believe that the arts are of intrinsic value to us as a people and as a nation. They help to include those who feel disfranchised and to inspire those without hope. We have rightly discussed the importance of the arts in the context of education, and our young people can expect to undergo several career changes in their lifetimes, requiring them to possess a flexible skill set. Children who play in orchestras or sing in choirs learn the value of team work, and the discipline of rehearsal develops confidence and character. Those who dance learn the importance of practice, and the ability to reproduce routines with skill and precision.

My hon. Friend has mentioned the importance of involving children and young people. As he knows, the Prime Minister takes delight in slagging off Wales at regular intervals. Will he pay tribute to the Urdd eisteddfod, which persuades young people in Wales to come together every year to celebrate culture and the arts?

I am delighted to do so. My hon. Friend is right to raise the important issue of the arts in the context of education.

All the skills to which I have referred are crucial in a modern world, and all of them feed into our creative industries. The arts and the creative industries provide huge economic benefit, as was made clear by my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol East (Kerry McCarthy). The creative industries are worth more than £36 billion a year, and employ 1.5 million people in the United Kingdom.

Since 2001, free entry to our museums and galleries has seen the number of visitors more than double to over 18 million a year, and we earn vital revenue from overseas tourists who visit us for our acclaimed theatre companies. Our thriving music industry is the second biggest exporter of music in the world, and in 2011 the total revenue from the international sale of UK television programmes was £1.5 billion. We compete with the best in the world when it comes to animation, video games, fashion, radio, publishing, architecture, design and advertising.

Culture has helped to revitalise many of our grey city and town centres. As our cultural scene has developed, so have the jobs and the social well-being of the people who live there. That point was made eloquently by my hon. Friends the Members for Liverpool, Walton (Steve Rotheram) and for Liverpool, Wavertree (Luciana Berger).

We live in tough times and tough choices need to be made, but we also need to make decisions about the kind of society in which we want to live. Labour has therefore been working on a strategy for jobs and growth in the creative industries, which focuses on areas in which we believe the Government should be leveraging effort.

First, the Government should nurture creative skills in education and develop talent. By giving young people the opportunities and skills provided by a creative education, we can ensure that our creative industries have the widest talent pool available from which to draw. Secondly, the Government should explore innovative ways of giving the creative industries access to finance. Thirdly, they should champion intellectual property. By protecting content creators and the rights of the consumer, we can provide a sound basis for investment.

Fourthly, the Government need a regional strategy to support the arts and the creative industries in all regions—not just in London—and to ensure that opportunities are available in every town and city. What work is the Minister doing with local authorities to safeguard investment in the arts locally? May I ask him specifically to repeat his assurance that none of the Science Museum Group’s museums, including the National Coal Mining museum for England, in Wakefield, will close as a result of Government spending cuts?

Fifthly, the Government need an international strategy that promotes our culture and creative industries around the world. Finally, they should champion equality of access and opportunity, ensuring that all people, whatever their background, have access to the arts and culture.

There has been speculation recently that in the forthcoming comprehensive spending review, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will be abolished and its constituent parts moved elsewhere. The Secretary of State stopped short of thanking Opposition Members for our campaign to save her job, but in a recent debate about the future of her Department, one well-known commentator reminded us that the DCMS is a Department in which the Government can assert their culture, define their mission, and set the tone of their term in this place.

We need a devoted voice in government and at Cabinet for the arts and the creative industries, and DCMS is the place for that voice. The arts and creative industries are vital to Britain both socially and economically, and we need a strong and influential DCMS working closely with the arts and creative industries. Our commitment to the arts as a country can be a reflection of the type of society we want to live in—one that is innovative, creative and productive. I commend the motion to the House.

I begin by congratulating the hon. Member for South Shields (Mrs Lewell-Buck) on her excellent maiden speech. She is not in her place and is no doubt already working for the people of South Shields elsewhere in the building. I thought she talked about—I will check the record—a new library opening in her constituency. That was music to my ears, because what we have today is a slightly surreal situation: because Opposition Members are determined to attack the Government, they end their speeches by saying that everything is doom and gloom, yet the majority of their speeches were taken up with extolling the cultural vitality of the areas that they represent.

As one would expect, I heard from my hon. Friend the Member for Truro and Falmouth (Sarah Newton) about the vibrancy of films, film-making and museums and galleries in Cornwall, and from my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Chris Heaton-Harris) about his chairmanship of the Northampton Theatres Trust, with 700 performances and audiences of 250,000. We heard from my hon. Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Damian Collins) about the Folkestone triennial and the huge work that the great philanthropist Roger de Haan is doing there, and from my hon. Friend the Member for Romsey and Southampton North (Caroline Nokes), a former local government cabinet member for leisure, about the thriving scene in Hampshire.

We heard, too, from the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent Central (Tristram Hunt), who has taken a tour as a judge for the ArtFund to see the great museums all over the country, but he failed to mention the CBE that has recently been awarded to Emma Bridgewater, who runs the fantastic Bridgewater Pottery in his constituency. We heard from the former Secretary of State, the right hon. Member for Exeter (Mr Bradshaw), about the municipal museums and theatres in his constituency, and from my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster and Fleetwood (Eric Ollerenshaw) about the vibrancy in his area. We heard from the hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Jonathan Reynolds) about how successful Manchester is, and I look forward to visiting Manchester next month for the Manchester international festival.

We heard, of course, from two Liverpool Members—the hon. Members for Liverpool, Walton (Steve Rotheram) and for Liverpool, Wavertree (Luciana Berger)—about the success of culture in that city. The hon. Member for Stockton North (Alex Cunningham) spoke about the Riverside festival and made reference to the success of Gateshead. And so it goes on, from Swansea West and from Strangford, where we heard about the success of both television and film investment in Northern Ireland, and specifically about Derry or Londonderry. [Interruption.] Opposition Members try to shout me down, but the virtues and vibrancy of culture throughout this great nation will not be silenced.

I could talk about Margate, Wakefield, Houghton hall in Norfolk, the Yorkshire sculpture park and the Zurbaran painting saved by a great act of philanthropy by Jonathan Ruffer. The fact is that the arts are thriving in this country. That is because of the success of our policies. If we talk about support in the regions, I would mention the Cultural Olympiad, chaired by Tony Hall, that happened under this Government—a huge success, bringing culture all over the nation.

Today, we announced the four cities on the UK capital of culture shortlist—the UK capital of culture created by Phil Redmond, who did so much to make the Liverpool capital of culture such a success. I have just finished reading his excellent autobiography, “Mid-Term Report”. Eleven different places around the UK applied to become the UK capital of culture. That is not a country on its knees culturally; it is a country where all parts of the nation are celebrating the success of cultural and creative industries.

A lot of hon. Members’ contributions were about the northern museums. We have an Adjournment debate on that very matter straight after this vote, so I will say a lot more about it in a few minutes’ time. We heard contributions on this issue from the hon. Members for York Central (Hugh Bayley), for Manchester, Withington (Mr Leech), for Bradford South (Mr Sutcliffe), for Stalybridge and Hyde and for Worsley and Eccles South (Barbara Keeley). On national museums in general, I can first of all assure hon. Members that there is absolutely no reason at all for any of the northern science museums to close.

The Science museum has taken responsibility for MOSI, with visitor numbers going up by 30%. It is striking a deal with Tyne and Wear museums, too, and the Victoria and Albert museum is working with Dundee. There is the new Tate extension and the rehang, and there are Tate partners all across the country. There is the Imperial War museum in Salford, and the Imperial War museum in London is currently closed because of new galleries to commemorate world war one. There is the new extension at the Natural History museum. During all of this there is the maintenance of free admission to our national museums. [Interruption.] That is another success story. [Interruption.] Opposition Members can try to shout me down, but they cannot deny the truth: success in the regions, success in our towns and cities, success in our national museums.

Because the Opposition cannot deny that, they claim it is their success. I do not deny the successes of the last Government, but nor should they deny the successes of this Government, because we are the ones having to make the difficult decisions because of the budget deficit they left us. They are forced to put forward policies that are imaginary and to suggest we are doing nothing, so they talk about skills and education without acknowledging the first ever national music education plan or the extension of the In Harmony scheme—set up by the last Government, extended by this Government—and they do not acknowledge the achievements of our cultural education plan, the first youth dance company, Film Nation bringing together the film charities, which is a £7 million fund, and Heritage Schools, which is a £3 million fund.

The Department for Education and DCMS are working together to put £50 million a year into education, too. There is also our creative employment programme, run through the Arts Council, and 6,500 creative apprenticeships being supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The Next Gen report is changing the teaching of computer science in schools, and acknowledging the importance of the arts. Creative Skillset has been given £16 million to support skills, and there are the BRIT schools, set up by the last Conservative Government, and acknowledged in this debate.

I want to pay the Minister a single, straight-edged compliment. He is very well respected across the creative industries. He has got energy, and from our experience in north Staffordshire with the Wedgwood museum, we know he is a man of action, so could I press him on this? When is he likely to take action on the recommendations of the Sieghart review to extend the public lending rights to e-books and audiobooks in our libraries, and so help authors and this vital element of our creative economy?

That was a good question, asked just as our brilliant Education Secretary, who does so much to support reading in schools and libraries, takes his seat. We will be making an announcement on that soon.

On skills, we are delivering; on access to finance, we are delivering with the enterprise investment scheme; and on tax credits, I have not even had time to mention not only the maintenance of the film tax credit, but its extension to television, and the rejuvenation of our animation industry and, soon, the video games tax credit.

The case for our regional strategy has already been made from the Opposition Benches, with Members talking about what is happening throughout the country. Also, my Secretary of State is putting together our international strategy to work with our national museums and performing arts organisations to fly the flag abroad and help Britain punch its weight. May I take this opportunity to welcome the appointment of Ian Livingston, chief executive of BT? He runs a successful company, and he is joining a successful Government to make the case for Britain abroad, to help our companies export abroad, and to help companies invest here because of the skills we have in our creative industries.

Let me say one last thing: DCMS is here to stay. We have moved buildings, but that is a metaphor for this Government. We have better offices, and they cost less, because with this Government we get more for less. We get the tough decisions being made. Opposition Members cannot get on their feet and have a debate about the arts until they come clean. Are they going to put more money into the arts? Are they just going to give a nudge and a wink, and say we do not like this cut here and we do not like that cut there, because they have to go on the record and tell the country and tell the arts what financial support they are going to give? I will give way to any Front-Bench Member who can tell me now—

claimed to move the closure (Standing Order No. 36).

Question put forthwith, That the Question be now put.

Question agreed to.

Question put accordingly (Standing Order No. 31(2)), That the original words stand part of the Question.

The House proceeded to a Division

Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 31(2)), That the proposed words be there added.

The Deputy Speaker declared the main Question, as amended, to be agreed to (Standing Order No. 31(2)).


That this House welcomes the Government’s support for the arts and creative industries; notes the increase in Lottery funding for the arts which will mean that some £3 billion will be provided for the arts from the National Lottery and in Grant in Aid over the lifetime of the present Parliament; notes that there has been further support for the arts from the Government, including the introduction of lifetime giving, catalyst funding and the maintenance of free admission to the UK’s national museums; welcomes the first ever national music plan for education, and looks forward to the imminent publication of the national cultural plan for education; further notes the Government’s support for the creative industries, including tax credits for film, television and animation; looks forward to the introduction of a tax credit for video games; notes the establishment of a Creative Industries Council; and welcomes the continued strong lead given by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in these areas.