Question for Short Debate
My Lords, I am delighted that so many noble Lords have joined me in this debate today. I am very grateful, especially since it is a Thursday afternoon and it is late—so thank you so much.
The skills policy has been described by one of the leading policymakers as “impenetrable” to the outside. Quite so. Given the complexity around the creative skills sector, I thought it wise this afternoon for me to focus on the creative and cultural sector and leave other experts to talk about digital and media. I shall also focus on just a few challenges in the short time that we have.
My long-term concern is about our entrenched failure as a country to commit to high status vocational training and skills or to understand the importance of creativity in the school curriculum, converged in the exam question that I was set recently by the Government of Wales. This was to make a report to the Welsh Government that would establish how the arts, culture and heritage, working collaboratively, could make a greater impact on reducing poverty and raising ambitions in Wales. It was not so much about new resources as about new ways of thinking. In fact, Wales is well ahead of the game in asking this question and in putting culture at the heart of the search for economic and social solutions to poverty, inequality and unemployment.
It is a hugely complex question, and there are no simplistic answers—but in the report that we launched last week I put forward some basic propositions as to how young people could better access the skills and jobs driven by the knowledge economy and the experience economy. That was a new term to me; by “experience economy” is meant the demand for cultural and performance goods. Among the recommendations that I gave some priority to was the need for a richer arts and cultural provision inside and outside school, joined to community provision as well as better training of teachers, so that they understand how engagement with the arts lifts and accelerates learning. We also need shared policy-making between culture, welfare and employment agencies and an all-Wales strategy for volunteering and apprenticeships across the creative and cultural sector.
The report is packed with examples of the different experiences of young people across Wales—whether they are working backstage or front of house for the National Theatre or an opera company—and how they are finding their own vision and voice as artists and musicians, taking over the museums and working with archives while developing the skills concomitant with that. In that context, I am very happy to pay tribute to the work of Creative and Cultural Skills in Wales, which has placed about 140 creative apprenticeships so far, helped by the very successful young recruits programme. It is more successful, I should say, than the Work Programme in England. The success of that programme shows that there is a buoyant demand for people who can run visitor operations, arts management, technical theatre and much more.
That confirms what the trend of the UK statistics shows—that the creative sector is growing at double the rate of other sectors, and there are persistent skill gaps. Indeed, according to CCS UK, some skill gaps are actually intensifying, not least due to the speed of digital change but also in areas such as management, marketing, sales, technical and craft-specific skills. So the demand for specialist and general skills can only grow. Equally importantly, the skills that are needed go far beyond the creative economy itself; they actually spread into and serve the entire economy because essentially they are about talent and capabilities. What is exciting about this is that, especially in areas of high youth unemployment, there is a greater opportunity in some ways for the non-graduate and the accomplished technician than there is for the graduate.
Getting skills training right across the sector is, as every noble Lord here knows, very challenging. The sector almost defies definition because it is so dynamic and diverse. We have about 30 idiosyncratic industries covering everything from fashion to special effects, and it is bound to be difficult to articulate common or even coherent structures, content, accreditation and qualifications. The Minister and I met a group of music industry apprentices the other day. I was struck by the fact that each of them had negotiated their own FE and employer training. In fact, many of them were engaged in business management law and marketing rather than music-making. The fundamental and urgent challenge now seems to be that although we know that the creative industries generate billions of pounds in added value and exports, the infrastructure is lagging light years behind our ability to take advantage of it. Putting the right levers in place is more difficult because neither the SMEs, which dominate the private sector, nor the cash-strapped public sector can plan strategically or to scale for skills training.
In addition, we have a labyrinthine architecture: two skills sector councils and each country in the UK doing things slightly differently. Having to negotiate and navigate that is proving incredibly complicated for everybody. There is good news. A lot is happening. Our Creative and Cultural Skills Council has placed 3,500 apprentices since 2009. It continues to articulate clearer vocational routes. It has created the National Academy for Creative and Cultural Skills as its delivery method and its programme, Creative Choices, has reached more than 1 million people. In the past year or two we have had the creative skill set, identifying 17 recommendations to boost skills. Recently, we have had the creation of the Creative Industries Council.
My first question for the Minister is: can he update us on the impact of that range of developments? What are the Government doing to support and incentivise those efforts? So far, so good, but it is not good enough, because throughout the system there is clearly a need for greater collaboration and dialogue, particularly in relation to education and employment. One sector leader put it to me that the cultural sector has always been perceived as marginal to education and skills policy-makers because there have not been any traditional non-graduate ways into work, so jobcentres and careers advisers are mystified by the sector. That is absolutely what I have found in Wales.
The priority is to demystify the sector and enable greater collaboration, to close the gaps which stop information about careers in the creative sector reaching teachers, parents, young people, careers advice programmes and employment strategies. Of course, we have to start with schools. An arts-rich curriculum can give young people the real skills that they need to get on in any situation: resourcefulness, thoughtfulness, fast and flexible thinking. Teachers as professionals need to know more about how engagement with the arts and culture accelerates learning, sustains motivation and opens up new choices and careers. We need them to be able to access that information because they are the most powerful advocates and agents to help young people into those career choices. Would that every teacher could visit Singapore to see how an arts-rich curriculum drives an economy.
I ask the Minister to report progress on the Henley report and to update us on discussions about the arts and the EBacc. Secondly, the dismantling of the Careers Service has been catastrophic. Careers advisers do not themselves always know how to go about getting never mind giving advice, because many of those careers are portfolio-based. How are the Government addressing that problem? How is the Work Programme being advised about the possibilities?
Thirdly, the Government need to address what I see as the failure of both leadership and policy integration. Neither the DCMS nor the UK Arts Council sees skills as its direct responsibility. The cultural sector has not historically engaged with FE. There needs to be a much better fit between employers, HE and FE providers, BIS and DCMS. They should all have an equal role in that because, frankly, there is no point in the Secretary of State for Culture banging on about how important culture is to the economy if DCMS takes no responsibility for the skills to sustain that. This is more urgent because the new Euro programmes make it imperative that the cultural sector engages with the need to drive up work opportunities for young people. Perhaps the Minister could take that message back to DCMS and tell us more about what is planned to make sure that we take advantage of the new Euro framework programmes.
Fourthly, the SMEs need more support to navigate complex funding systems without being overwhelmed. I am delighted to say that CCS again is showing real leadership and is looking at how best to bring together schools and careers advice with industry engagement, training and work experience. It is planning a place-based series of innovative and exemplary skills hubs set up around the CCS base in Thurrock, which are intended to form networks, pool resources and offer greater sustainability for small businesses. It is an excellent local model for local delivery, which is what we need to see to make clear how everything joins up in principle and practice. I hope that the Minister will lead a delegation to see how it is working.
Finally, the growth review included digital and creative industries as one of its six priority growth areas with justified and prioritised actions to support future growth. Surely that should include a more coherent and vigorous approach to skills training across the sector.
My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Andrews, for this debate. I think that we all agree that the UK’s creative industries are one of our greatest assets. An IPPR report published last month states:
“The creative industries survive or fall on innovation and the discovery of new talent, so skills are critical”.
As the noble Baroness said, in this area we do not face a jobs problem but a skills problem. However, work is being done.
As the noble Baroness also mentioned, BIS and DCMS have established the Creative Industries Council, on which I sit. It is a joint forum attended by practitioners and government. It is an attempt to corral the very disparate members of the creative industries sector and focuses on areas where barriers to growth face the sector. We are hard at work on a soon-to-be-launched creative industries strategy, at the heart of which is establishing an education and careers system that inspires and supports the next creative generation.
In 2011, Ian Livingstone and Alex Hope published the Next Gen. report, which argued that our education system was not keeping up with the times, in particular the way in which ICT was being taught. The coalition Government listened and a programme of study for ICT including computer programming and a GCSE in computer science were introduced this year. Computer science is now part of the EBacc’s science strand.
Before the last election the Lib Dems produced The Power of Creativity in which we pledged to enable businesses to offer more apprenticeships. We have achieved that. A record number in the creative industries are now being government funded. In the Budget yesterday, funding was provided for more than 100,000 additional incentive payments under the apprenticeship grants for employers scheme and we hope that large numbers of these will be creative. According to Arts Council England, 81% of those surveyed who had taken up an apprenticeship are now employed in the creative industries. It is estimated that the 2011-12 apprenticeships will deliver net gains of £2.4 million to the UK economy.
I am sorry if I am speaking rather fast but I want to get to what I really want to talk about; namely, that it is clearly money well spent but that there is a major problem in the area of diversity. Last week Lenny Henry gave the BAFTA TV lecture. What he had to say was horrifying. He told us:
“Between 2006 and 2012, the number of BAME’s working in the UK TV industry has declined by 30.9 per cent. Creative Skillset conducted a census that shows quite clearly that Black, Asian and minority ethnic representation in the creative industries in 2012 was just 5.4 per cent—its lowest point since they started taking the census”.
As the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, will know as well as me, when it comes to the performing arts we should not be worried about just the lack of “front of camera”, it is the producers, the directors, commissioners and board members who set the scene. How is this for a fact? Of the key PSB bodies—Ofcom, BBC Trust, ITV and Channel 4—where the Government have some influence, 42 board seats are available, of which just one, a BBC trustee, is not white. All 15 seats on the BSkyB board are filled by white appointees. ACE and the BFI have just one non-white board member each.
The DCMS Minister Ed Vaizey has recognised the problem and set up a group, of which I am a member, alongside the noble Baronesses, Lady King and Lady Benjamin, and representatives from the industry, which meets monthly. We are determined not to be just a talking shop. Action is required and one of our priorities is data. To make people accountable, you need detailed and timely data.
What a waste. It is essential that the creative industries reflect the 21st-century UK: our vibrant, creative and multicultural country that attracts so many people from overseas because it is just that. The most important thing, as this debate highlights, is to ensure that we continue to create the creators, and in doing so we must stop excluding so much potential.
My Lords, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak in this debate secured by the noble Baroness, Lady Andrews, and to follow the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, whose remarks I endorse—apart from the fact that actually we have masses of data about this issue, which has been campaigned on for 50 years. It is time for real action, again.
I do not wish to rehearse the facts of the contribution of the creative industries to the UK economy, although I will point out that if the fashion industry were a country, it would be seventh on the table of global GDP and about the same size as the economy of Canada. That is how big it is, so I am going to focus on the fashion industry again. I hope that noble Lords will forgive me for taking this opportunity to shift the focus from some of the more established notions of skills training and gaps on to creative skills and sustainability. This is timely as we approach the first anniversary of the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh on 24 April. It is perhaps also worth noting that we are in the final year of the UN’s Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
Since the exposure of the realities of not only building collapses but issues such as landfill and other forms of environmental degradation, more and more people are calling for a fashion revolution. Yet my sense is that the training and education of those who design, produce and sell garments has not really kept up with that kind of movement. The more we think about the challenges in producing fashion that retains its sense of fun, enables us to present our sense of identity, et cetera, the more important it becomes to make values and ethics explicit components of the training and education of creatives and makers in the fashion industry. Just as we train and teach our students and apprentices how to develop their craft and skills to produce high-quality creative content, so we should be teaching innovative approaches to internal and external threats, problems and opportunities, such as the environment and sustainability.
The Centre for Sustainable Fashion is, along with MADE-BY, among the leaders of the drive to ensure that students develop their creative skills and innovative talents in conjunction with an understanding of the need to develop different ways of working which emphasise that good fashion should also be sustainable. The centre’s staff provide the secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion, which I chair—my friend, the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, is also a member of that group.
As the world faces environmental and social challenges, there is a greater need for innovation and creativity based not on single disciplines but on inter- and multidisciplinarity. Future creative graduates are going to need the skills to address sustainability and ethical challenges, which means that they must have the opportunity to engage with these issues throughout their education. I have used fashion as an example but the arts, cultural and creative sector as a whole has to develop much more sustainable practices and much more rapidly.
Currently the creative industries are not leading the charge on sustainability, which I feel is a missed trick, especially given the ability of the sector to engage with such a wide range of people in a fun and interesting way. Given the ability of these sectors to generate debate, joy, contemplation, reflection and so on, and given their highly developed creativity, I hope that the creative skills training bodies will make a decisive push in this direction, encouraged by leadership from the Government. Creative practitioners have the potential to make a real difference in the way that society as a whole faces these issues.
My Lords, I am glad to join in this debate and I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Andrews, for bringing this matter to our attention. I want to focus on a much more limited area this afternoon, if I may, by thinking a little about education and about the role that voluntary organisations play in this area. I shall use some illustrations from schools, colleges and universities and say something about the small role that the church plays in trying to do some of this.
On Tuesday morning, I made one of my regular visits to a school. I went to Sutton Church of England school near Biggleswade. It is a tiny rural school led by an excellent head teacher, Sarah Stevens, and it has been classed by Ofsted as outstanding. As I was taken around, I found myself in a corridor where a girl who was receiving a violin lesson gave me an impromptu concert. She was delighted and we all clapped. I noted that it was taking place in a corridor because there was nowhere else for it to happen but creativity was a key part of that village school. Indeed, many children there are learning musical instruments. Yet when I go into schools, I hear again and again about the pressure on the curriculum which is squeezing out some of the things that teachers would like to do creatively, which is surely one of the most important things.
I would guess that your Lordships, like me, can think back to their own schooling and to one of those inspirational teachers who not only spotted creativity but learnt how to draw it out. They helped the child believe that they could do something creative and offer it to others. Well, we have lots of very good schools which are working on that. I think, for example, in my own patch of Wootton Upper School and Arts College and Tring Park School for the Performing Arts. There are also excellent performing arts departments in the two local universities, which I know very well, of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. However, we need to find ways to recognise and celebrate what they are doing. They are providing the actors, producers and everybody else for the future of our theatres.
Britain also has a wonderful tradition of musical performance and singing. We play a little part in that with our heritage of music in our cathedrals, collegiate institutions and some parish churches. It is there that many of these young people discover not only that they have a voice but how to train it. This has nothing to do with schools or with government. Many professional singers started off in precisely these places and are now singing either in the classical repertoire or in popular music. I am thinking of Charlotte Church, Aled Jones and Gareth Gates, all of whom have made a real contribution to the economy. The recent “Sing Up” initiative by the Government has helped to reverse the decline of singing among children and cathedrals have been active in it. In my own cathedral, we have choristers taking part in the termly chorister outreach concerts organised by the Hertfordshire Music Service. Since 2008, we have welcomed 48 schools and nearly 4,000 children have been learning together and performing. This is at the point when they begin to grasp the idea of a creative way of living.
With relatively little extra financial help, much more could be achieved. For example it was in one of my parishes, South Oxhey, which is in a relatively poor area near Watford, that the local parish priest, Canon Pam Wise, persuaded a certain Gareth Malone to form a choir. That turned into a TV series and has raised self-esteem hugely in that area. I confess that it may not have made much of an economic contribution but it has certainly made a huge contribution to self-esteem and social capital. These are vital things. Our cathedrals are also particularly active in the commissioning of music and art, such as stained-glass windows and sculpture. We have just commissioned 12 new statues for our nave screen which will take craftsmen two years to complete. Cathedrals are one of the main employers of apprentice stonemasons; a recent project between the University of Gloucestershire and eight cathedrals has been on just that.
I believe that as well as having large national government initiatives and encouraging business, we need to think hard about supporting schools in developing creativity and about the voluntary organisations which want to be part of this, if we are to capitalise upon our long history and develop the creative aspect of our national life. It is from here that many talented and gifted young people come. They have the potential to make a significant contribution not only to society but to the economy.
My Lords, along with everyone else, I am grateful to my noble friend for initiating this debate. I was struck by the contribution made by the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, on the subject of diversity. It slightly made me consider whether to tear up what I was going to say and talk more about that subject, but perhaps it would be unwise given that we do not have much time.
I want to concentrate on the contribution made by arts organisations to the development of skills, both within the education system and outside it—that is, outside the formal education system—and not only in the creative skills sector and the creative economy but, as others have already touched on, in other sectors of the economy. I shall do that by shamelessly bigging up an organisation with which I am connected and of which I am extremely proud: the Roundhouse. In a way it is a microcosm of everything that the noble Baroness, Lady Andrews, and others have been talking about. It is in north London and is a famously beautiful building within which wonderful professional arts events take place. There is music, theatre, circus and all sorts of other stuff.
Underneath the main performance space at the Roundhouse is a suite of studios that are fully equipped with video and sound, giving opportunities for people to make music in a variety of ways and to make other things as well. A wide diversity of young people between the ages of 11 and 25 come through the door to use the studios. They undertake practical skills-based courses in all the things I have just mentioned. They can develop their interest in being performers, managers, technicians, DJs or whatever they want to be into a marketable skill under the supervision of experienced tutors who are also, critically, working professionals.
People learn skills in a variety of ways. Some are not particularly well served by or at home with a formal educational setting. They do better with other ways of learning. The Roundhouse provides many opportunities for people who perhaps have not done so well in the formal education system to re-engage with their own enthusiasms, sometimes to re-engage with formal education, and to acquire skills that they can go on to use. It is probably not surprising that many Roundhouse alumni are now themselves established professionals in the creative sector, working at every scale from the BBC down to small start-ups. I should say that every year two young people sit as full members of the Roundhouse Trust, and my goodness are they ever good; they certainly put us on our mettle.
The New Economics Foundation recently published some research on the impact of the open access programmes being run at the Roundhouse, into which young people come from a very wide range of backgrounds. Some of them are privileged while others come from deprived backgrounds, although they are committed to their education. Some have failed or been failed by the education system. These young people come together and work together. The foundation discovered in its research that the act of working together in a group—one that is ethnically and educationally diverse—in itself helps to create and embed a lot of what those young people are learning. I would just say to the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, that that is where hope for the future lies. It is in programmes like those being run at the Roundhouse where people are given an opportunity, no matter what their background, to learn about themselves and to learn new skills—and then put them into practice with no sense of social, ethnic or any other kind of barrier. They are simply focused on what it is that they want to do.
I ask the Government to acknowledge that this kind of work is going on all over the place. The Roundhouse is a particularly fine example but other arts organisations are doing it too. They are doing it in the face of considerable difficulty. It would be very nice if the Government would acknowledge, at least, that this is not just nice-to-have stuff: it is really important stuff. It impacts not only on the creative economy but on the whole of our economy. If we could build it into our education system, how much better off we would be.
My Lords, I want to say a big thank you to the noble Baroness, Lady Andrews, for giving us all the chance to talk about our favourite subject this afternoon. After the recession and 2012, it is even clearer that our future in Britain lies with our imagination, creativity and invention. Enders Analysis’s Creative UK report, published only this week, demonstrates that the UK is experiencing a wave of business creation in the creative economy, higher than any other major OECD country.
So many of the creative industries are interconnected and have a wide economic impact. The CEBR report for the Arts Council last year demonstrated that arts and culture play an important role in supporting commercial creative industries. I am delighted that yesterday the Chancellor confirmed that 20% tax relief would be given to all qualifying theatre productions, rising to 25% for regional theatre. But the CMS Select Committee and, we have heard, the CBI and NESTA have all concluded that the creative and cultural industries face a number of pressing skills shortages, exacerbated by the growing inability to recruit talent from abroad. Skills deficiencies have been exposed by digitisation. Investment in training has historically been difficult to implement largely because of the prevalence of small and micro-businesses.
The creative industries—I absolutely share my noble friend’s concern about this—need also to be much more accessible to young people from diverse backgrounds if they are to attract the talent that they need, as a recent IPPR report, March of the Modern Makers, makes clear.
I have some brief comments, given the time available. In line with the Henley review, we need students going into the creative industries to be multidisciplinary. There has been a danger that EBacc poses a significant threat to the UK’s creative economy. Will the Minister reassure us that the new “floor standards”, which contain five EBacc and three other GCSE subjects, introduced last October, are becoming widely known and will ensure that progress is measured across a range of subjects including the arts? Will this arrest the slide in take-up of arts subjects?
Then we have apprenticeships. Traditionally, this has been a sector that has been very difficult for school leavers without connections to penetrate, and where unpaid internships have favoured the children of the better-off. The sector is improving. I looked at the Apprenticeships website and there is now a large number of apprenticeships, for example, in the creative and digital media. The All-Party Music Group recently heard about the launch of UK Music’s programme to deliver 200 new paid apprenticeship opportunities across the music industry. Under the noble Lord, Lord Hall, the BBC is making great progress. BSkyB, Channel 4, Channel 5, ITV, Sony and many others launched Creative Access in 2012 to provide opportunities to young people from the BME community. The Arts Council, of course, has its major creative employment scheme.
In higher education, we have some fantastic institutions, but the Creative Industries Council’s Skillset Skills Group, in its excellent report in 2012, made the point that too many courses lack industry-relevant skills. Creative Skillset’s Tick accreditation scheme for those courses, which arose from its recommendations, is therefore much to be welcomed. Post graduation, students need to learn business and entrepreneurial skills, and that is why I so strongly welcome initiatives such as those of the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN programme. There is therefore considerable progress in the sector. There are clearly myriad different schemes at all levels, but we now need to do much more. In particular, we need to make sure that all the pathways to qualifications and careers in the creative sector are clearer than ever, with far better information to those at whom they are aimed.
I am honoured to talk in this debate introduced by the noble Baroness, Lady Andrews. She was instrumental in starting me on my journey into digital inclusion and I thank her for that as much as for prompting the discussion this afternoon.
I longed to work in the creative industries when I left university. I imagined myself as a great writer or, even better, as a renowned theatre director. In reality, I became a media and telecoms analyst. On getting my job, my boss told me that the telecoms industry was a fabulously interesting business filled with less interesting people, and that the media industry was a fabulously boring business filled with fabulously interesting people. It was 1994. Then a strange thing started to happen. During the following decade, these two sectors—media and telecoms—became more and more similar. The technology was moving so fast that the separation between content, distribution and customers was blurring. The internet had landed firmly in the middle and the definition of “creative” changed.
By 1998, I was running Lastminute.com, and the coders who lurked late at night on the top floor of the office were becoming the rock stars. They were the people in the team who were inventing the magic for our users. This trend has sped up. Now, the biggest stars on the planet, from will.i.am to David Hockney, are talking about coding and the power of tech. Creative people around the world are eulogising about the importance of learning to code. The geeks truly have inherited the earth.
Amazing and innovative ideas are emerging, such as the Creators Project, sponsored by Intel. It is one of my favourites, as it flushes out new digital artists. The ability to keep at the forefront of digital change will enable the UK to continue to lead the world in its creative sector, but there is much to be done. The introduction of better computer science in the curriculum and the mandatory teaching of coding in primary schools from September are very valuable. The UK has the opportunity to encourage a whole new generation of creators, but it is essential that the resources and training are given to teachers to make this change a success.
One aspect of the web that never fails to inspire me is the creativity that can be unleashed when people who have never before had access to it are shown how to use it. Jorge works with a charity that I chair, Go ON UK in Newcastle. Jorge came to the UK in late 1973 at the age of 16, having been forced to leave Chile following persecution by the dictatorship. He could not go back to Chile and reunite with his relatives and friends until recently, but earlier last year a friend suggested that he should get on the web and learn about digital media and self-publishing so as to write a book about his story. Jorge had never spoken of all those dark years in Chile but last year his book, Dear Chile, was published, and on the back of it he has just secured a publishing deal to write his memoirs.
Jorge had never used the web before this experience and he is not alone. Currently, 11 million adults in the UK cannot do four basic things online. How many more Jorges could there be among those 11 million—how many more people who never before have had the opportunity to become part of our wonderful and enriching creative sector? We need to build digital skills in all parts of our society to make sure that we have as wide as possible a pool of creative talent from which to draw.
My Lords, I, too, congratulate my noble friend Lady Andrews on securing this debate and I am grateful for the opportunity to add my short contribution.
The importance of the creative industries to the UK economy is not in doubt. Despite the recession, the creative industries have been outperforming the rest of UK industry, growing by 15.8% since 2008 against a baseline increase of 5.4% for the UK economy as a whole. Other noble Lords have given figures on employment, added value and exports, and I certainly will not repeat them. Suffice it to say, our creative business is booming.
So I welcome the recent announcements about tax breaks for high-end TV, animation and video games further to promote the skills that the UK has to offer in these fields. Film, television and games production are the kind of innovative, creative industries at which we excel in the UK, and they deserve government support. I am delighted that there is now discussion about extending tax credits even further, to regional theatre, not least because theatre is the training ground for many of the creative skills areas in which we take such pride.
The point I want to make is that of course creative talent does not appear fully formed: it has to be nurtured and stimulated. That is done, above all, in our specialist institutions and universities. Higher education is the primary producer of the talent and skills that feed the creative industries, and it is an important source of research that informs new ideas, practices and business models that apply both within and beyond the creative sectors. As Nigel Carrington, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Arts London, has said:
“A creative education is an investment in the future of individuals and nations. Creativity powers innovation, challenges assumptions and acts as a catalyst for change. Our students and alumni are shaping the world”.
The creative industries rely on the supply of graduates coming through our schools and universities, as others have said. Starting with schools, that means that creative subjects—the arts—must be guaranteed a core place in the school curriculum. Or, as has been noted in the other place, we must put the STEAM into STEM subjects.
If we are to continue to produce the talent that underlies the success of these creative industries, we must improve the status of arts education in our schools, not allow it to disappear. Yet the introduction of the English baccalaureate as the gold standard for schools has placed further emphasis on maths, science and geography, at the expense of creative subjects. Take-up of art GCSE fell by 14% between 2010 and 2013, while subjects such as fine art and photography will be credited as just one GCSE rather than two in school league tables. This is short-sighted. Students must be encouraged and supported to develop their creative skills, so that they are equipped to go on to study at our universities and conservatoires. From there, the talent will flow into our creative industries. What assurance can the Minister give us that the strategic importance of those subjects which are not science-based but which nevertheless contribute significantly to the UK’s economic health will not be overlooked?
While we safeguard the status of arts education in schools, we must also ensure that we fund properly our specialist arts schools and conservatoires. I have spoken on this aspect before, but I would like to ask again for an assurance over the continued commitment of premium funding to our conservatoires to help cover the shortfall between the fees they can charge and the actual cost of providing the intensive, individual tuition needed. They nurture the very best practitioners and have the highest percentage of graduates in employment across the UK higher education sector.
The continued success of our creative industries requires that we do everything possible to promote their centrality to UK cultural, social and economic life.
My Lords, this is an important subject and I am very grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Andrews, for concentrating our minds on it.
These are difficult times and we all have to take our share of the prevailing astringency—I have no illusions about that. However, as we have heard already, we must be cautious not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The Government have rightly recognised that the creative industries—or, in my particular field of interest, the arts—bring huge dividends to the UK economy, our reputation abroad and our society.
I will turn to the creative skills sector more precisely in a moment. First, though, I must say that there would be no such sector without education. In that respect, I fear that the bathwater is gushing out. Music and drama have been severely cut in many schools, and that is where it all begins for so many. That is where the light is lit, where young string players can get their fingers round the instrument while their muscles are still malleable; where an ability to express pent-up emotions through the worlds of literature, dance, drama and music can lead to more stable and fulfilled personalities; and where confidence in self-expression is kindled.
We know that exposure to the arts—to the communion of singing in a choir, for instance, where you have to listen to your co-choristers—promotes teamwork and social cohesion. However, this must not be the preserve of the privileged. Despite what, for instance, the Yehudi Menuhin School might do for a young Nigel Kennedy, our aim must be to provide cultural nourishment to every child so that they at least have the opportunity to become part of the creative sector. You have only to see a child’s fluency on a computer to realise how quickly—shamefully, to those of my generation—they assimilate and master new technology, but they must have access to it in the first place.
As we move towards university, we still find the arts being downgraded in some areas. A few years ago I was given an honorary doctorate of music at the University of East Anglia. After the ceremony, we talked about future plans, and how the music department might grow and produce musicians of stature, as the creative writing course had produced Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro among many others. A year or so on, the vice-chancellor had to write to me to tell me that I was a doctor of music at a university that no longer had a music department. Pride turned to great sadness, not for me but for the young people who, so close to Benjamin Britten’s home, would be denied a top-flight musical education. How sad, too, that the paid choir of Llandaff Cathedral has been disbanded.
I am glad to say that my musical industry, at least, is doing something at the sharp, business end of things. As we have heard, UK Music launched a Skills Academy in 2013, which brought together different strands of skills and training to help young people get work in the music industry. Since the launch, UK Music has placed 30 young people into some of the UK’s top music companies. Apprenticeships have ranged from royalty administration to music publishing. The Government should consider extending the successful creative employment programme, possibly by rerouting funding from programmes with lower take-up rates. It has worked because it is targeted to a specific industry.
Understanding of copyright is also crucial and it should be taught as part of music, not just computing and IT. As Adrian Sterling, an expert, said the other day:
“Copyright is about a right in a copy, not a right to copy”.
This is an eloquent distinction, which we all need to understand if we want our culture and creativity to continue to flourish. I have been privileged to flourish in a wonderful world of creative endeavour. We must make sure that future generations have similar possibilities: much is at stake.
I apologise to noble Lords. I am speaking in the gap and must exercise compression techniques as I have got about one minute. I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Andrews, for an absorbing and fascinating debate. I am going to focus only on my favourite issue—apprenticeships—which has been given a good airing.
We have seen some good progress and I was interested to hear the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, referring to the apprenticeship vacancy matching service, of which I am quite proud. It is one of the few computer systems I have introduced that has not, to my knowledge, fallen over or been hacked. We have recently seen some good examples. As the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, said, the noble Lord, Lord Hall, has been a good influence at the BBC. With the Royal Opera House, he created the Thurrock opportunity, which creates apprenticeships in production, scenery design, et cetera. We need to engage locally, so I put it to the Minister that there ought to be a creative job opportunity strategy involving every local employment partnership.
My Lords, I am extremely grateful to my noble friend Lady Andrews for tabling this debate and for her excellent contribution. I also thank all noble Lords who have spoken. There was so much I wanted to say in the debate but in the short time I have I will limit myself to three quick points.
First, it is clear that the creative industries are already a success story but, sadly, they are an untapped source of considerable potential economic growth for the future. We have heard that there have recently been some piecemeal but welcome initiatives to boost skills in this area. For example, we hope that the creative employment programme, launched by the Arts Council and overseen by the National Skills Academy, will support thousands of new apprenticeships and paid internships. That is to be welcomed, as is the £16 million of funding to Creative Skillset to develop skills in film, TV, animation and games. A number of noble Lords have mentioned other initiatives. However, these initiatives are small-scale and disparate and serve to highlight the Government’s failure, across departments, to grasp and nurture our global economic potential and the human potential which lies behind it.
Secondly, as a number of noble Lords have said, nowhere is this inconsistency more stark than in the Government’s own education programme. Michael Gove has undoubtedly been allowed to sideline the teaching of creative subjects in the curriculum and the new league tables still put pressure on schools to drop drama, art, music, design and the other creative subjects. This is taking its toll: GCSE applications are falling across these subjects. I hope that the noble Lord will respond to that criticism.
At the same time, in education, we have seen the decimation of the careers service, so that young people have no concept of the wide range of work opportunities that exist in the modern creative sector. A recent report showed that teachers were so out of touch with what the job opportunities are in this sector that they just gave young people the same careers advice that they had been given at school. Noble Lords do not need me to tell them how far the world has moved on since then. Meanwhile, the government squeeze on the funding of undergraduate arts courses has seen creative and digital courses lose most of their teaching grant. Again, combined with the rising tuition fees, that risks damaging the supply of young qualified performers, writers and designers for the future.
Thirdly, much of the current government spending on arts and culture is badly skewed towards London and is failing to play its part in rebalancing our regional economic recovery. That has been compounded by the starving of funds to local government. As we all know, that has cut funding to community arts organisations, which in the past would have been the place where the next generation of artists had their first experience of participation. It is not clear how that vacuum is to be filled. Where will young people go to put their first foot before the footlights?
It is interesting that the recent IPPR report made a very imaginative suggestion, which is the idea of creative clusters around the regions, building on a local specialism; for example, Manchester could concentrate on fashion and games, Cardiff on TV and film, and Bristol on software and design. That is a very imaginative idea. With support from BIS and DCLG, such initiatives could play a vital role in wider regional regeneration. However, it needs the political will to drive an agenda such as this.
As the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, made clear, the whole situation is made worse because non-white people and those from poorer backgrounds do not find any places in the limited training and careers opportunities on offer. There is a danger that we are sliding into dominance by a white, south-east urban elite in this sector, and nobody wants that.
It is a frequent mantra in these debates that we need more joined-up government, and I do not pretend that that is easy. However, I also know that DCMS does not have the funding or the clout to deliver radical change alone. I hope that the noble Lord will address those concerns in his response.
My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for securing this debate, and thank all noble Lords for what has been a fascinating exchange. We all agree that the creative industries play an essential role in our national life. I am very conscious of the enormous experience that your Lordships bring to these matters.
As has been said, the creative sector contributed £71.4 billion to the UK’s economy in 2012—well over 5% of the total UK economy, and far outperforming the UK economy as a whole. In that year alone, 133,000 new jobs were created in the sector. While the sector is showing impressive growth here in the UK, we do not exist in isolation; our global competitors are working hard, too. The Government are fully committed to working with the sector as it develops its strategy to maintain our global competitiveness. I was particularly taken by the absolutely correct point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Young of Hornsey, that it is very important that the creative industries are very much alive to the importance of sustainability, particularly, as she mentioned, in the fashion world.
The noble Baroness, Lady Andrews, raised from the outset the importance of the commitment of skills and the support of the Government. That is why the Government set up the Creative Industries Council—I am delighted that my noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter is a member—to provide strategic focus for both industry and government. It has also put in place a range of generic and sector-specific financing measures, and fiscal measures such as the creative content tax reliefs. The film tax relief alone has helped to raise more than £1 billion in inward investment in British films. It provides funding for agencies such as the Arts Council, the BFI, Creative England and the Technology Strategy Board to invest in and support the creative industries. The Arts Council is investing £1.4 billion of public money in arts organisations and cultural programmes between 2011 and 2015, and the BFI is investing nearly £500 million over the same period.
I say to the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, that my understanding is that 70% of Arts Council lottery funding over the past three years has been invested outside London. Indeed, as I said earlier and as we all know, many organisations which receive funding that are based in London tour well beyond London.
Yesterday, the Chancellor announced further support for measures for the creative industries, with the European Commission approving the extension of our film tax credit and a new tax credit for theatre, to which my noble friend Lord Clement-Jones and the noble Baroness, Lady Warwick, generously referred. That will offer 20% tax relief for qualifying productions and 25% for regional touring from this September.
As the noble Baroness, Lady Andrews, emphasised, education and skills lie at the heart of any strategy to maintain our global competitive edge. We need to foster opportunities from an early age for young people from all backgrounds—what my noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter and the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley of Knighton, said about all backgrounds showing a breadth of career opportunities in the sector is vital. That needs employers, schools and colleges to work together.
I am conscious of what has been said about the National Careers Service. I have a very long note on the basis that it has not been decimated. In fact, the reforms to careers advice in England will be of immense help. Given the time, it may be helpful if I write to your Lordships in some detail about that. Indeed, in the area of education and skills, Creative and Cultural Skills, Creative Skillset and e-skills UK—all the skills councils for the sector—are using government funds to develop and deliver schemes.
The noble Baroness, Lady Jones, mentioned the £15 million creative employment programme funded by the Government and the creation of apprenticeships and paid internships. Much more will be done. We certainly recognise the potential; that is why the Government are committing £292 million up to next year on a range of cultural education programmes, including music education hubs, the BFI Film Academy, heritage schools and many more. Through the Skills Investment Fund, we will be supporting skills development in the digital sector context. I very much hope that the noble Baroness, Lady Lane-Fox, will approve of that and of our reform of the curriculum for computer science, putting greater emphasis on programmes for creativity. It is clearly important that we have teachers who know how to do that, and that is also part of the programme that I should like to write to your Lordships about.
The noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, raised the issue of the gaining of skills and the wider benefits outside the sector, whether financial and life skills or health and social benefits. They are all part of what those industries can create for people of all generations. That is why DCMS is working on how better to capture the intrinsic benefits of the creative and cultural sectors.
I was very interested in what the report of the noble Baroness, Lady Andrews, on culture and poverty meant. I have a copy and I will read it. A number of your Lordships raised the matter of teaching arts in schools. There is so much to be said about that. Given the time I have, I ought to write in detail, because I think and hope that there is a misapprehension about that. As the Chancellor said, about £20 million of public money is going to help cathedrals. I want to refer to what the right reverend Prelate said about singing and what the noble Baroness, Lady Warwick of Undercliffe, said about conservatoires. We clearly need to make sure that music-making, which is such a key feature of national life, is encouraged.
I had a very interesting meeting yesterday with Channel 4. It spoke to me about its 4Talent scheme. I must mention the BBC and the Stephen Lawrence BBC training programme for young people from BME backgrounds, and many others.
I will be out of time very shortly, but I wanted to say that I have been briefed by members of many departments. Our thinking is very joined-up. The Creative Industries Council is jointly run. I have had briefings from DfE. The Chancellor has come in to help with the Budget yesterday. We should celebrate the creative industries, and I am very sorry that I do not have time to do your Lordships any further justice.