Skip to main content

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Volume 723: debated on Thursday 1 December 2022

The Secretary of State was asked—

Intellectual Property and Copyright: Artificial Intelligence

1. What assessment she has made of the potential impact of artificial intelligence on intellectual property rights for performers and creative workers. (902496)

14. What assessment the Government has made of the potential impact on the creative industries of the proposed copyright exemption for text and data mining for artificial intelligence. (902509)

The recent Intellectual Property Office consultation on artificial intelligence and intellectual property sought evidence and views on text and data mining. A response was published in June. We recognise that the creative industries have significant concerns about the potential impacts of the TDM proposal and as a result, we are reflecting on whether to progress it in its current form. The IPO will be engaging with interested parties over the coming months to help to inform the Government’s thinking and we will set out the next steps in due course.

It was encouraging to hear the Minister tell the Lords Communications and Digital Committee last week that she is confident that the text and data mining proposal will not go ahead. That has been warmly welcomed by the creative industries, which depend heavily on intellectual property rights for their income stream. What steps will the Minister be taking to ensure that any revised proposals to promote AI do not cause economic harm to the creative industries? Will she provide an update on her conversations with the Intellectual Property Office, including the detail of its plans to extend the consultation on the proposal?

I thank the hon. Lady for raising the issue and speaking on behalf of the creative industries; IP is the lifeblood of many of those industries. As I said in the Lords Committee, I am not convinced of the value of the proposal. Yesterday, the Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, my hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Scully), and I met the Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Norfolk (George Freeman), who has responsibility for the Intellectual Property Office. As I mentioned, he is extending the consultation on this and we will be talking to him in the meantime. We hope to provide further details as soon as we can.

The Minister clearly agrees that our creative industries, especially music, are not only valuable in themselves, but part of what makes Britain great. It follows that we must encourage and support our creative talent across the spectrum. She also clearly understands and shares the industries’ concern about eroding creative copyright for the benefit of the AI giants, so what will she do to stop it?

Hopefully, I have set that out in my previous answer. I raised the concerns of the creative industries with the responsible Minister and he was sympathetic to those concerns. He will go back and look at the consultation again to examine in greater detail some of the concerns that have already come from the creative industries and see whether the proposal can be revised.

Rural Broadband

We are investing £5 billion through Project Gigabit to deliver lightning-fast, reliable broadband to hard-to-reach areas across the UK, and we are making great progress, having already launched procurements with a value of £780 million. Today, we announced the award of a new £108-million contract to connect up to 60,000 homes and businesses across Cumbria with the fastest broadband speeds. We are also boosting our voucher scheme: we have increased the value of the vouchers so that people can apply for as much as £4,500 towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband in rural and particularly hard-to-reach areas.

I assure the Minister that the people of Nether Wallop, Over Wallop and Barton Stacey do not feel that Project Gigabit is delivering for them. They have seen changed criteria; an inability to split postcodes, which is difficult when they are on a county boundary; delays in the processing of their applications; and then being told that they will not be able to reapply until 2023, because the project will still not be procured for those areas. They want answers and delivery, not the news that the project is delivering in Cumbria.

I thank my right hon. Friend, although I cannot agree with her on the importance of Cumbria, which is one of the hardest to reach areas of our country. That we are taking that area as one of our first shows just how much we care about narrowing the digital divide. More than 95% of premises in my right hon. Friend’s constituency now have superfast broadband, which is up 55% over the past 12 years. During the same period, gigabit-capable coverage has risen from 0% to 71% in her constituency. I appreciate that particular villages and parts of people’s constituencies do not have the coverage they need, and that is why we are significantly boosting the voucher scheme. We have launched two of our procurements in areas that cover my right hon. Friend’s constituency in Hampshire. I also host regular Building Digital UK drop-ins for colleagues—I hosted one yesterday—and if she would like to come along and speak directly to BDUK officials, we shall look into the villages affected.

Everyone loves Cumbria, but some of us love Lancashire even more. Residents of Station Road in Singleton have experienced repeated delays to the installation of fibre broadband, with the project unlikely to be completed before 2026. In Lancashire the awarding of installation contracts for Project Gigabit is still a year away, and the voucher scheme remains suspended. While some rural areas enjoy great connectivity, many on the margins of commercial viability, such as Station Road, do not. How can we prevent our rural communities, especially those in Lancashire, from falling ever further into a digital divide?

I am sorry to hear about the challenges in Singleton, and I have great sympathy with my hon. Friend’s constituents. He is right to highlight the digital divide, which we are ruthlessly focusing on closing. We will shortly reopen the voucher scheme across Lancashire. We have increased the value of vouchers, and we are assessing alternative procurement approaches to Lancashire. My hon. Friend should please engage with BDUK, which I would be happy to put in touch with him.

I am pleased for Cumbria, Mr Speaker, but just 10% of Blaenau Gwent has access to gigabit broadband, compared with a 72% UK average. The swift roll-out of Project Gigabit will be essential for levelling up across our local economy, so will the Minister please ensure that areas with the least coverage, such as Blaenau Gwent, are prioritised first?

As the hon. Gentleman may be aware, the Welsh Government lead on that procurement in his constituency. We work closely with them, to support them in trying to accelerate the work they are doing, but I am happy to look into his particular circumstances. It was wonderful to visit south Wales last week, and I thank him for the work he does with the film, television and screen industries, which I also represent as a Minister.

The Welsh are never knowingly undersold—two for the price of one.

Let me plead with the Minister: as she knows, communities along the M4 corridor still do not have the superfast broadband roll-out. That is not to do with delivery; it is about the companies saying that they are unable to install on streets within three miles of the M4 motorway. I have raised with the Minister many times, from the Dispatch Box and the Back Benches, the fact that communities in my Ogmore constituency have some of the lowest speeds in the whole UK. I ask her to raise this issue again with the installers to get it fixed, and ensure that my communities have far better broadband connectivity.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his work in this area in his previous role. I would be grateful if he could write to me about the specific companies that are causing challenges in his area, particularly in relation to the M4 motorway, which I would be happy to look into.

Youth Services: Voluntary Sector

3. What steps she is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help support the voluntary sector in delivering youth services. (902498)

Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.

This Government know the importance of local youth services, and we have guaranteed that by 2025 every young person in England will have access to regular clubs and activities, adventures away from home and volunteering opportunities. That is a clear commitment based on feedback from 6,000 young people, supported by £560 million of funding.

Last week I had the pleasure of spending my Wednesday evening with a group called the Squirrels, which is the new expanded offer from the Scouts, offering four and five-year-olds the opportunity to engage in new services. It was perhaps a refreshing change from this Chamber to spend time with 20 or so four and five-year-olds. More seriously, research by the Scouts has raised concerns about the rising cost of living, with parents unable to afford some of the fees for those services. In addition, the cost of delivering those services with rising rents and energy bills is putting pressure on organisations such as the Scouts. What support can the Government give to organisations such as the Scouts, which offer so many opportunities for young people, to help them meet that need?

The hon. Lady is right to praise the work of many of our non-military uniformed youth groups. I am pleased to say that, in trying to tackle many of the waiting lists across England, we will be investing about £15 million in the area. I also recognise the additional cost of living pressure and am working with the sector to ensure that we feed in all the issues that it faces to the Departments that are looking at them for the long term.

Together with the former Member for Stretford and Urmston and the National Youth Agency, I am chairing a review into the benefits of linking youth work with schools. What discussions is the Minister having with the Department for Education about how we can bring in more youth workers, including voluntary youth groups working closely with schools, to help some of the kids who are not so good at keeping in schools? When we produce our report in the new year, will he agree to meet a delegation from that report?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that question. He is absolutely right that it is important that there is joint working across Departments. We are doing that with the Department for Education and, in particular, looking to offer the Duke of Edinburgh’s award to every mainstream secondary school. I would welcome the opportunity to meet a delegation, listen to it and discuss the report’s findings.

Grassroots Sport Participation

Grassroots sports bind our communities together and make people happier as well as healthier. Since 2019, Sport England has invested over £200,000 in my hon. Friend’s constituency, including £40,000 during the pandemic. In October, I announced £35 million of Commonwealth games physical activity legacy funding, opening up sporting opportunities across the west midlands. The Government are continuing to invest directly in grassroots sports facilities. I am sure that I can meet my hon. Friend to discuss this further.

I recently met Matt and Alan from Northfield Town football club, who have ambitious plans for a new all-weather football pitch and female facilities for changing rooms and toilets. How can we support Northfield Town football club to make the new facilities a reality?

Government investment, along with that from the Football Association and the Premier League, is delivered through the Football Foundation. Since 2019, the foundation has invested about £8 million in more than 300 projects in the Birmingham area, targeted based on local football facility plans. I am sure that the foundation would be keen to hear from Northfield Town about its ambitions. We will facilitate that via my office.

As they say, you have to see it to be it, and it is well known that, when cricket disappeared from terrestrial TV and went on to paid-for satellite TV, participation levels at grassroots plummeted. A great many Scottish football fans cannot view the Scottish men’s national team on free-to-air TV, and that has hit participation levels. The previous Sports Minister met me to discuss how we might improve the situation. Might the Secretary of State do me the same courtesy?

Football Governance: Fan-led Review

The Government published their response to the recommendations of the independent fan-led review of football governance in April 2022. We do recognise the need for football fans to be at the heart of the game and for the reforms to ensure that the game is successful and sustainable in the long term. Football clubs are at the core of local communities and, for too long, fans have been an afterthought for some club owners.

Football’s coming home, but it seems that a football regulator is not. Without a football regulator, there will be no say for fans and no financial or fit-and-proper assessment of new owners, with more clubs like Bury being at risk. Almost a year on from the fan-led review, the Government are no further on in implementing any of the changes. In that time, we have seen the sale of Chelsea and the near collapse of Derby. Why are the Government dragging their feet?

It is important that I praise the work of my hon. Friend the Member for Chatham and Aylesford (Tracey Crouch), who got the fans’ voice right at the heart of her report. I and the Minister responsible for sport have met multiple football supporters’ groups and will continue to do so. The White Paper will be published imminently.

At last week’s annual general meeting of the Torquay United Supporters Trust, there was much debate about how the World cup in Qatar and the discussions around it have yet again focused attention on the governance of the game of football. Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is absolutely vital that we make changes to ensure fans get a voice, that there is real engagement with their clubs, and that we do not see more of the incidents we have seen across this country, where clubs have been moved from their historic locations into other communities due to disputes over stadium ownership?

We on the Government Benches understand how important it is to get this right, and we will get it right. We will put fans’ voices right at the heart of what we do, and ensure that whatever we do has the teeth to ensure change.

In the years since the fan-led review was published, Southend United faced a winding-up petition and a transfer embargo after financial failings; Derby County was in administration; Chelsea could only carry on because of special exemptions when its owner was sanctioned; and the Mayor of the West Midlands wrote to the Football League to express his worries that Birmingham City’s future is in jeopardy under its current ownership. Which clubs will face trouble next year, the year after, or each year until the Government stop delaying the introduction of an independent regulator? The Prime Minister committed to implementing all the recommendations of the review, so why do they not just get on with it? After the next election, a Labour Government will.

After the next election, a Conservative Government will continue to get on with the job, as we have always been doing. The Government recognise the importance of acting decisively, but also of getting this policy right; we have been considering it and consulting very carefully. Of course, in the meantime, those in football can take forward some of the reforms themselves, including financial redistribution, which we continue to urge them to do. The report will be imminent.

Film and Television Industry

As set out in our broadcasting White Paper earlier this year and when I visited Pinewood and Shepperton studios last week, the Government are taking action to support British broadcasters and our world-leading film and television industries. That includes ensuring that public service content is easy to find on a wide range of TV platforms; delivering our £21 million UK global screen fund; and continuing to support our screen sector tax reliefs, which provide nearly £1 billion of support to more than 1,000 projects.

Given the sheer spunk of the contribution that my right hon. Friend the Member for West Suffolk (Matt Hancock) has made to television, it would be churlish not to restore the Whip, wouldn’t it?

As my right hon. Friend knows, that is not a decision for me, but we can always depend on the right hon. Member for West Suffolk to attack a challenge with gusto, and I was not surprised at all to see him taking on all sorts of animal parts during the show. It has become a little bit of a thing for my predecessors to join that show, but I hope I can provide reassurance that I have no intention of ever doing so.

Of course, a very important part of our film and television industry is the music that goes with it and the composers who provide that music. At this juncture, it would be wrong of me to not recognise and send sympathy to the family of Christine McVie, one of Britain’s greatest ever songwriters, who sadly passed away yesterday. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”]

I was glad to hear what the Minister of State aid about AI earlier, because that will affect film and TV composers, as well as other people within the industry. Will she ensure that in undertaking the AI review, the Government listen very carefully to the views of songwriters and composers who work in the film and television industry during their consultation?

I echo the hon. Member’s sympathies. Of course, we will listen to all relevant voices, and I am happy for the hon. Member to meet with either myself or the Minister of State, who is responsible for this.

Tourism Sector and Visitor Economy

The UK was one of the first countries to remove the barriers to both domestic and international visitors, and set out a post-covid tourism recovery plan in summer 2021. An inter-ministerial group for the visitor economy was formed this year, and will meet again in December to discuss cross-departmental policy priorities in support of this important sector.

With the axe looming over the English National Opera and the Donmar Warehouse—both national attractions that have helped the tourism the Minister has described to be a multibillion-pound industry for so many years—and local newbies such as the Ealing Project venue and ActOne cinema facing a tough environment with the post-covid footfall downturn and looming bills, could the Government, now that they are in reset mode, reconsider the impact of Arts Council cuts on London so that we can get tourism flowing through our capital again, from centre to suburb?

The Arts Council is an arm’s length body; it makes the decisions and has done so very carefully. It is working with various organisations that will be leaving the funding. However, it is right that we share the funding around the rest of the country; I make no apology for that. I want people not just to come to London to visit our wonderful facilities here, but to go around the whole country and experience what a great country we have to offer for tourism.

I welcome what the Minister said about spreading the money around the country. I invite him to come to the Derwent valley mills world heritage site, which is key to the whole of the spine that goes through Derbyshire. It is in disrepair and we need to get tourism back on track for Belper in particular. I would also like him to come to adjacent sites where we have “the clusters”, which are very ancient roads, to see how he can help with some funding.

It would be great to go from Qatar to Derbyshire and I would be more than happy to accept my hon. Friend’s invitation. She is right to talk about the many opportunities that we need to look at, including, particularly, the offer in the rest of the country for tourism from not just this country, but around the globe. One of my priorities is to get more people to come to London, of course, but then to visit other great counties such as Yorkshire, as I am sure you would agree, Mr Speaker.

Arts Council England Funding Decisions

8. What assessment she has made of the potential impact of Arts Council England funding decisions on leading cultural institutions. (902503)

Decisions about which organisations to fund and at what level were taken by the Arts Council, an arm’s length body from Government. The Arts Council remains committed to supporting the core cultural institutions. For example, three institutions that receive the most funding in the portfolio are the Royal Opera House, the National Theatre and the Southbank Centre. Many high-profile, established organisations such as the Royal Shakespeare Company and Opera North will continue to receive funding.

I thank the Minister for his answer. Arts Council England’s decision to stop funding English National Opera in London and to effectively demand that it relocates to Manchester will leave hundreds of talented artists and professionals either out of work or forced to uproot their lives. Some of them live in my constituency and are understandably devastated by the decision that they now face, but they also feel blindsided, given that they had very little warning. Will the Minister tell me whether the artists directly impacted by the removal of ENO funding were consulted in advance of the decision? If not, why not?

I know that the Arts Council has taken a considerable amount of time to look at the unprecedented number of applications—more than 1,700—that were received and that it has assessed them very carefully. It is making sure that £12.6 million is available in transition funding for those that will be leaving. The time has been increased from three months to seven months, so that there is support for them for up to 12 months. We would certainly encourage the Arts Council and the English National Opera to continue the dialogue that they are having.

On a similar theme, levelling up is undoubtedly a noble ambition, and the Arts Council funding has been too London-centric for too long¸ partly due to the subsidies to the Royal Opera House, which, if the Minister ever visits there, he will see is a bit like the Starship Enterprise, in terms of facilities. In correcting the imbalance, however, does he agree that the Arts Council needs to be careful about not potentially wrecking established institutions such as English National Opera, which was given very little notice of funding cuts? As a result, it is threatening legal action. A soft landing is needed. Does he agree that he needs to speak to the Arts Council to ensure that, when it makes such decisions in future, it has a plan in place to ensure that those institutions are at least protected and have a way in which to cope with the decision?

I reiterate that the Arts Council is an arm’s length organisation. We have had several meetings to hear about the long processes that it has undertaken to consider each of the awards that it has made. We pushed it to increase the transition period of funding, recognising the difficulty that that may present to other people. We hope that both Arts Council England and English National Opera will work together—we certainly encourage them to—on the possibilities for the future of the organisation.

We all support the fairer distribution of arts funding and the principle that communities outside London should get a fairer share so that everybody everywhere can enjoy the arts, but levelling up should not be about pitting arts organisations against one another. What we have seen is an attempt to address regional disparity by shifting some funding to the regions, but doing so from a funding pot that has been shrinking since 2010. Does the Minister agree that these very short timeframes and the lack of consultation on these cuts to funding could have a very damaging impact on the ecosystem of the arts?

Well, I have to say that London will still be getting the lion’s share of funding from the Arts Council. I make no apology for what we are seeing in areas such as Blackburn, which had never received any funding: four projects there are now receiving funding. Why cannot talented artists in Blackburn get the same access to those opportunities as artists in London? I do not understand the problem.

Topical Questions

Next week, the Online Safety Bill will return to the House. I have made a number of changes to the legislation to strengthen the protections for children and offer a triple shield of protection for adults, while also safeguarding free speech and consumer choice.

In the meantime, I am sure that colleagues across the House will join me in congratulating England on their win on Tuesday night and, of course, show their support for the decision of the Sports Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Pudsey (Stuart Andrew), to wear the OneLove armband while representing the Government out in Qatar. I am proud of my right hon. Friend for standing up in solidarity with the LGBT community.

Northwood youth club in my constituency has served generations of young people, with access to activities including cooking, sports, arts and many other things, but it now needs investment. Can my right hon. Friend update me on the progress that the Government are making on the distribution of the youth investment fund?

The Government know the importance of local youth services; that is why we launched the national youth guarantee. The youth investment fund is a £368 million investment to build up or refurbish 300 youth facilities in levelling-up priority areas. The fund opened for applications on 1 August, building on the £12 million that we distributed for minor capital projects earlier, and we expect to announce the first awards early in the new year.

There is a running theme here, with the fan-led review delayed, the gambling White Paper delayed, the data Bill delayed, the Online Safety Bill delayed, the media Bill delayed and, apparently, Channel 4 privatisation cancelled. It is a bit like getting an Avanti train, Mr Speaker.

Like on the trains, delays cost businesses. Take the media Bill: there is now a real risk to the very future of our public service broadcasters without it. Can the Secretary of State tell us: will this particular train ever leave the station?

We are fully committed to the media Bill, as we have already said and as the hon. Member knows. It has not actually been delayed; it was announced in the Queen’s Speech for this Session.

The Government are making an absolute mess of the Online Safety Bill. After years of inaction, we now know that they plan once again to delay the Bill from progressing. Their approach will supposedly give adults greater choice online, but it does absolutely nothing to tackle the harmful content at its root. Can the Secretary of State confirm whether the abhorrent yet legal extreme content that led a man to shoot and kill five people in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport (Luke Pollard) would still be available to view and share freely online under the terms of the Bill?

Not a single clause in this Bill is actually changing—in relation to children, it is being strengthened. In relation to illegal content, of course that content is still being taken down, as the hon. Member would know if she read the stuff that we have published. We are also introducing a triple shield of defence, which was lacking before, and we have made the promotion of self-harm and intimate image abuse an offence, while also protecting free speech and free choice. It is important that the Opposition remember that making a Bill stronger is not watering down.

T2. Social mobility—getting people out of poverty—is more important than income inequality, and access to culture and heritage play a vital role in it. I welcome the funding for the next three years for four organisations in beautiful Hastings and Rye. Hastings Contemporary, Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, Project Art Works and Home Live Art will all receive a share of nearly £2.5 million between 2023 and 2026. Will my right hon. Friend join me in congratulating these organisations on the work that they do in bringing growth and creative opportunities to my constituents, and will she pay a visit to Hastings and Rye to enjoy the delights that it— (902515)

Order. I think we have had this before. These are Topical Questions, and we need very short questions so that all the other Members can get in. Unfortunately we are struggling for time, and we cannot use other people’s time: it is not fair.

I entirely agree that social mobility is at the heart of what we want to do, and I congratulate those four institutions. If the Minister for Arts and Heritage or the Secretary of State will not come to Hastings and Rye, I certainly will.

T4. Why is there no right to appeal against decisions made by the executive complaints unit in the BBC? Does the Minister agree that it would strengthen confidence in the BBC if there were an independent complaints process enabling people to appeal against those decisions? (902517)

I know that this is a long-running issue of concern for the hon. Gentleman. The BBC announced some changes to its complaints process yesterday, but I appreciate that he does not think they are strong enough. We will be looking into this in the course of our reviews of the organisation.

T3.   I recently received positive news from Leeds United football club: the area where I sit, as a season ticket holder, is being converted to rail seating. As chairman of the all-party parliamentary group for safe standing, may I ask the Minister to meet me to discuss how rail seating could be extended to other clubs? That would be financially viable for them, and would give their supporters a better viewing experience. (902516)

Clubs that are subject to the all-seater policy—such as the wonderful Leeds United—may now apply to offer licensed standing areas, provided that they observe stringent criteria set by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority. For instance, they must ensure that the density of spectators is no higher than it is in seated accommodation. I welcome the news that Leeds United wish to sign up for this opportunity, and I should be more than happy to meet my hon. Friend in the new year, after I have met the SGSA to discuss this very issue later in the month.

T6. Short-term holiday lets are taking over urban, rural and coastal communities, causing the housing crisis to escalate and undermining the hospitality sector. The consultation closed three months ago. On Friday, I will present a private Member’s Bill proposing the licensing of such short-term lets. Will the Secretary of State support that Bill to regulate the industry? (902519)

As I think the hon. Lady will know, in my previous role I fully understood the issues and challenges involved in this. We have received 4,000 responses to the call for evidence, which we are currently looking at. We are also working on the issue with colleagues in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. I recognise that we need to sort it out.

T5. Constituents of mine who work in London’s tourism sector are extremely worried about footfall following the Mayor of London’s decision to expand the ultra low emission zone. What discussions is the Department having with the sector to ensure that it is protected? (902518)

Tourists, like residents, want to breathe clean air in London, but they also want good public transport as an alternative to driving. When I was Minister for London, my main concern in relation to tourism was for those working in the industry, at the lower-paid end. We need to have a sensible discussion, and we need a Mayor who remains accountable for the results of the consultation that is on the table.

T8. An audit conducted by Open Democracy found that think-tanks such as the TaxPayers’ Alliance, the Institute of Economic Affairs and Policy Exchange—favourites of the Tory party—had raised more than £14 million from mystery donors in the past two years. What discussions has the Secretary of State had with the Charity Commission about ensuring that funding of this type is transparent and sourced from UK donors? (902521)

We work closely with the Charity Commission, and of course all donors and charities have to work transparently. I shall be happy to meet the hon. Member for discuss this in detail.

T7. I join others in congratulating England on qualifying for the knockout stage of the World Cup, and, indeed, congratulating my hon. Friend the Sports Minister for his demonstration at the event. At home, however, more than half our Premier League clubs are now owned to foreign owners. In some cases that has been very successful, although I think that in Manchester there may be different views on either side of the city. What action can the Minister take to ensure that foreign owners are appropriate for this country? (902520)

I thank my hon. Friend for those kind words. Foreign investment and ownership have benefited football, from elite to grassroots level, and we must be careful not to exclude good investment from the game. However, it is absolutely right that good custodians be permitted to own football clubs, and that skilled and experienced directors run them. We will publish our White Paper on the reform of football club governance in the coming weeks; it will set out our approach to improving that governance, and the owners and directors test.

The charity Women in Sport recently reported that 1.3 million teenage girls across the UK are dropping out of sport; 50% do not feel good enough to participate. What are the Government doing to smash those stereotypes and ensure that girls keep playing sport, as I did when I was a girl, and get stuck into it?

The hon. Lady is absolutely right to raise the issue. It is worrying that the progress made with women and girls has not gone back to pre-pandemic levels. This issue is a key priority for me; I will be working closely with the Department for Education on it. We are developing the sports strategy, which I hope will address many of the issues that she raised.

I was a teenage anorexic, and it is terrifying how many of our children are affected by anorexia today, so will the Secretary of State meet me to make sure that the Online Safety Bill protects children from content that glorifies all forms of self-harm, including anorexia, and that those measures are implemented swiftly?

I would be delighted to meet my right hon. Friend. The Bill will ensure that children do not see content that promotes self-harm or glorifies eating disorders. Of course, the Bill will now be strengthened by a provision ensuring that adults will no longer see content promoting self-harm. I will invite the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, the right hon. Member for Charnwood (Edward Argar), who has responsibility for victims, to join that meeting, to explain the clauses that we have added.

The Minister quite rightly wore the armband in Qatar. Does he agree that it is completely disgraceful that FIFA stopped Harry Kane and other captains from wearing the armband as a demonstration of solidarity? Will he encourage our Football Association to work with other, like-minded FAs to ensure that FIFA changes its approach to the awarding and running of World cups?

That was one of the reasons why I wore the armband. It was totally unacceptable that both the Welsh and English teams, at the 11th hour, were faced with an impossible decision. I thank those teams for wanting to wear the armband; it means a lot to all of us. I have already spoken to the FA about where we go from here. We cannot, at the end of this tournament, just let the matter come to an end. We need to talk about the future.

I welcome the Secretary of State’s announcement on Cumbria’s gigabit roll-out, and thank her for her visit to Workington yesterday; she was very welcome. Does she agree that the announcement is a game-changer for places such as Workington, and a demonstration of real levelling-up by this Government?

It is indeed a game-changer, and I thank my hon. Friend for all the lobbying that he has done on behalf of his constituents to ensure that Cumbria has better levels of connection. It is testament to his hard work that we have rolled out Building Digital UK’s first regional contract in Cumbria.

Am I allowed to say, “Pinch, punch, first day of the month”? The Government should wake up to this opportunity; there are loads of young people coming out of university with media skills. We could put them in schools, and bring culture back to our school curriculum. Could we have a new programme now?

I met the Minister of State, Department for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Harlow (Robert Halfon), who has responsibility for skills, just this week to talk about how we get more creative skills in the economy to fill all the wonderful jobs being created in areas such as the film and television industry. I appreciate the hon. Gentleman’s enthusiasm.