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Leaving the EU: Creative Industries

Volume 658: debated on Thursday 11 April 2019

7. What assessment he has made of the effect on the creative industries of the UK leaving the EU. (910363)

8. What recent assessment he has made of the effect on the creative industries of the UK leaving the EU. (910364)

The effect of leaving the European Union on the UK creative industries will depend on the manner of our departure. We are engaging with businesses up and down the country, including small and medium-sized enterprises, to understand their concerns and to ensure that they are aware of Government advice, and we will continue that engagement. The UK’s creative and cultural industries are respected the world over. They are an economic powerhouse, exporting services that were worth £27 billion in 2016, and we are determined to continue our support for them.

I thank the Minister for her answer. Is she aware of the scale of the concern in the Thames Valley, which is an important centre for both the IT and creative industries? When will she be able to reassure local small businesses that are thinking of relocating to the EU that the Government have a realistic plan for Brexit?

I am very aware of the businesses in the sectors that the hon. Gentleman describes—and not just in his area—and their concerns. We are doing our best to reassure them about access to capital and talent post-Brexit, and we are well aware of their concerns.

UK creatives who want their trademarks protected in the EU rely on attorneys based in EEA countries. A trademark attorney in my constituency has contacted me with concerns about the lack of clarity in the framework that will allow him to continue representing his clients after Brexit. That threatens his business. Can the Minister reassure my constituent and the £268 billion creative industries that the EU intellectual property regime will continue to apply after Brexit and, if not, what is the plan?

I assure the hon. Lady that the Government take intellectual property very seriously indeed, and we will ensure that globally leading protections are in place as we leave the European Union.

Many grassroots music venues such as CICIC—Creative Innovation Centre CIC—in Taunton are wonderful places for bringing forward the talent going into our creative industries, yet they are suffering because they have to pay such high business rates. Will my hon. Friend meet me to discuss whether they could have lower rates, like many of our retail outlets and pubs?

My hon. Friend makes a very good point indeed. She would be well advised to raise those issues with the Treasury. We are in discussions with the Treasury on those matters, but we are doing a great many other things to support grassroots music venues, including through agent of change proposals and scrapping form 696, all of which have had a beneficial effect, certainly in the London area.

Post our departure from the EU, will the Minister ensure that she takes every possible step to maximise our opportunities in the creative industries sector right across the United Kingdom and not just in the south-east?

I assure the hon. Gentleman that we take on those responsibilities, and he will be pleased to hear that I spend more of my time focused on the creative industries outside London and the south-east. We have national skills programmes in the north-west and elsewhere in the United Kingdom, and I am sure that we shall support the creative industries in the Northern Ireland, which are doing such a fantastic job, equally.