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Arts/Creative Industries

Volume 564: debated on Thursday 20 June 2013

8. What assessment she has made of the contribution of the arts and creative industries to the economy. (160611)

The Centre for Economics and Business Research estimates that arts and culture had a turnover of £12.4 billion and a gross value added of £5.9 billion in 2011. The creative industries contribute £36.3 billion in gross value added, accounting for almost 3% of gross value added in the UK in 2009.

Copyright theft costs our writers, artists and musicians billions of pounds a year. Three years ago, this House legislated on action to tackle that. When is the Secretary of State going to show that she is not in the pocket of Google and the other internet service providers by doing something to enforce the will of the House and enforce the law?

The right hon. Gentleman will know, given that he had my job in the previous Government, that the detail of that legislation requires a great deal of working through. That is a huge priority for this Government and I can assure him that we are working closely to ensure that copyright support is put in place as soon as possible.

Does the Secretary of State agree that creative business incubators such as the workshop that is opening in Tontine street in Folkestone this month, along with the Government’s seed enterprise investment scheme, will give a real boost to start-up businesses in the creative sector?

Absolutely. The Government’s investment in culture and the arts will ensure that those start-up firms have the necessary stimulus to enable them to thrive.

A key element of any strategy for the arts and the creative industries must include support for all regions of the country. In these challenging economic circumstances, the Government should be working with local authorities to make the case for culture and to explain its social and economic benefits. Will the Secretary of State tell us what she is doing to help councils to support the arts and the creative industries in their local communities?

I am not doing what the hon. Gentleman is doing in supporting a council such as Newcastle, which wanted to cut its arts budget by 100%. I hope, given his question, that he now realises that that was a big mistake. I am glad that the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman) intervened and overruled the decision that he had made. I could give him many examples of the work that we are doing to support the regions in this way, and I draw his attention in particular to our comments yesterday on the Arts Council, which is investing £174.5 million this year in national portfolio organisations outside London. It is of course the Arts Council that has the role of supporting regional culture and arts, and I think it is doing a good job.