The UK’s creative industries are an economic success story, worth more than £87 billion to the UK economy and growing twice as fast as the economy as a whole. They account for almost 2 million jobs and export more than £19 billion-worth of services to the rest of the world.
This Government’s northern powerhouse is not just about improving transport. In the words of the former Chancellor, it is also, importantly, about “creative, cultural, beautiful places”. This Government have committed to providing £78 million towards Manchester’s new theatre and exhibition space. That is welcome, but what are the Government doing to drive the creative industries in Yorkshire and the city of Bradford? Will the Minister agree to meet me, Bradford Council and business leaders to discuss what more could be done to support a new theatre and exhibition space in Yorkshire and the city of Bradford?
The hon. Lady will know that this Government are committed to promoting creative industries across the whole of the north of England, which is why Hull is the city of culture next year, we have the “Great Exhibition of the North” in Newcastle and Gateshead in 2018 and we have a legacy fund of £15 million, on top of the money for that exhibition, to promote the creative industries across the whole of the north of England. Bradford has many great creative industries, particularly in tech and gaming, and I want to make sure we do all we can to foster the economic climate in which they can thrive.
In the post-Brexit economy, the creative industries will be more important than ever. Those 2 million jobs the Secretary of State mentioned, in music, TV production, film, video games, art, design, publishing, dance, drama and literature, are one of our strongest hands as we find a new trading place in the world. When I checked the Government website this morning, I noticed that the Secretary of State attends a Brexit Cabinet Sub-Committee but not the main Brexit Committee, which means the creative industries have no voice at the top table. May I help the Secretary of State in some way? Would she like me to write to the Prime Minister about this, because the creative industries need a voice at that table?
It is very kind of the hon. Gentleman to offer to help, but I think he would agree that there is no higher table than the Cabinet, and I can assure him that the creative industries are fully represented at that top table. It is also worth pointing out that I have held round-table meetings with the creative industries, and the Creative Industries Council last week had a specific session looking at the work it has done to examine not only the threats there are from Brexit, but its many, many opportunities. This is a global industry in which the UK is a world leader, and he should take comfort from the fact that the Prime Minister mentioned the creative industries specifically in her conference speech as one of those strengths that we want to build on, here in the UK and in the rest of the world.