Motion to Take Note
My Lords, it gives me genuine pleasure to introduce this debate on the economic importance of the creative industries. It should not be so much a debate as a celebration, because our creative industries are thriving. The latest government figures show that the creative industries together were worth almost £77 billion to the economy in 2013, and they have grown considerably since then. They are on a roll: they have been growing at three times the rate of the UK economy as a whole for several years. They are creating jobs at a remarkable pace. Between 1997 and 2013, job creation in the sector grew by 3.9% a year; the economy as a whole managed just 0.6%—much better than many countries, but the creative industries show just what can be done. There are now 1.71 million people employed in the creative industries.
But statistics tell only part of the story. We all know that the creative industries do not generate just money and employment; they bring joy and enlightenment—they improve life for everyone. At the Globe Theatre, Shakespeare has been brought to life for children who never thought they could enjoy it. Some of our modern novelists are opening doors to the imagination for people who never thought beyond the reality that for them was really quite mundane. Harry Potter turned a generation of youngsters into readers when their parents had almost given up hope.
Whether it be music or film, theatre or museums, art or books, the UK is delivering quality, variety and innovation. On Wednesday evening America’s First Lady, Michelle Obama, dropped in to see the Victoria and Albert’s magnificent exhibition—ground-breaking in its use of technology and imagery—of Alexander McQueen, under the title “Savage Beauty”. If she had had a little longer to spare, there are many other things that she could have taken in. I particularly would have liked her to take a look at what the British Museum has on now, as I am deputy chairman there. She could have seen a fantastic exhibition of Greek sculpture, “Defining beauty”, and indeed it is beautiful.
There are so many other cultural delights to savour in this country, and there is no doubt that our arts and culture bring visitors to the UK in droves. Tourism is now the UK’s fifth-largest industry. I am glad to say that in this year’s election campaign, unlike the previous one, every one of the main parties had tourism in its manifesto, a recognition of how important it is. Our arts, our culture and our heritage strongly influence the decision of people to visit the UK. According to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions—I declare an interest, as a director of the association—the number of visits to the country’s top museums, parks and heritage sites rose by a remarkable 6.5% last year. Most of those visits are from people who are going to bring more money into the economy and go away happy rather than feeling robbed—and you cannot say that for every industry.
Our creative talents are flourishing in every sector. Our theatres and orchestras attract culture-hungry visitors to the UK and, of course, are significant earners overseas. We are currently very successfully exporting Her Majesty the Queen, in the shape of Helen Mirren and “The Audience”, which is playing to an ecstatic audience on Broadway. We are excelling in a way that other countries envy. I was delighted to learn, courtesy of the Arts Council, that its money is being spent in part on the Hip Hop Foundation, without whose benefit we would not now be enjoying what Rizzle Kicks brings to the audience. We have talent on a grand scale. I am still bemused why “Britain’s Got Talent” has to resort to giving the first prize to a dog that cannot even do its own stunts—we have people who can do their own stunts.
In the creative industries, this House boasts representatives of virtually every aspect of the sector, from composing to broadcasting to writing and film producing, and I am much looking forward to hearing from so many experts here today. Only this week, I was able to shake hands with Lionel Richie in the Peers’ Dining Room. Sadly, he was eating rather than doing the cabaret, but it was good to see him here. This House welcomes talent from the creative industries.
Government has played a part in fostering the creative industries, of course. In times of austerity—and we have certainly been living through them—there are inevitably going to be cuts. Budgets have to be rationed, but the investment in the creative industries has continued to be something that the Government have taken very seriously. Particularly noticeable are the tax reliefs for the film industry, introduced in 1997 by a Conservative Government and built on by successive Administrations. I cannot deny that another very creative industry has grown up around those tax reliefs, but let us not get involved in that niggle, as steps are being taken to deal with that. Let us concentrate on how successful the actual tax reliefs have been.
In 2008, the total spend on making feature films in the UK was £723.1 million, and by last year that figure had more than doubled. Inward investment into the industry has trebled over the same period, to reach more than £1.2 billion by last year. This is money that could easily have gone elsewhere, for there are other countries just as keen as we are to bring the film industry and big blockbuster movies into their economies. That is why the tax reliefs make a difference, and why they are staying. For every pound that the Treasury puts into the film industry, it is getting £12 back. That does not sound like a bad deal to me.
And the film industry is making winning products that we all enjoy. The Oscars are flowing in our direction, the film industry is a success and, of course, it nurtures so many skills and businesses around it. It needs wig-makers and set builders, for instance, as well as make-up artists, sound engineers and catering—and I now know that that means hot food available at any time, or it gets dangerous. Pinewood, where my noble friend Lord Grade is chairman—although, sadly, he could not be with us today—runs apprenticeship schemes, as do other film-makers, and has links into many local schools, explaining to the children the career possibilities that the industry has to offer. Those highly effective tax reliefs are being extended into high-end television programmes, animation programmes and video games, which will all flourish with the new regime. The UK has proven expertise in these sectors and is a major exporter. In highly competitive markets, it makes sense for the Government to bolster the chances of success.
The nurturing of these industries is crucial, and not just because of their own earning capacity. Let us not overlook the pleasure that they generate, although I gather that your Lordships’ House comes under some threat in the new James Bond movie. The skills that these industries nurture are important too, because they feed into other industries. The design and engineering skills that are crucial to the creative industries now feed into every sort of manufacturing, from fast-moving consumer goods to cars and heavy engineering. Successful marketing, an industry in which the UK has long excelled, needs the slickest design and the best video production techniques. Design is what gives mundane products the edge and opens up international markets to them.
The London Olympics provided a fantastic demonstration not just of our sporting prowess but of our ability to put on a show. Here I raise an issue which continues to concern me about some of the smaller companies involved in the 2012 extravaganza. I have mentioned it in this House before, because it smacks of unnecessary bullying by the big commercial operators and hurts the smaller firms. Having been involved in the 2012 Olympics is a fantastic calling card for a small company. It should enable them to win new contracts, particularly if they are interested in working on the next Olympics. But the fierce rules of the International Olympic Committee, drawn up to protect the major sponsors, still prevent many of those small companies from boasting of their achievements. I know that the Government have looked at this before, but I do urge them to look again and see whether there is no room for manoeuvre here. Of course, I would draw no parallels with FIFA, but it looks to me as if the smaller companies need a degree of protection rather than allowing the big companies to trample over them.
One thing that would make a huge difference to the economy in this country is improving productivity by finding a way in which to lift those small companies up more quickly into becoming bigger companies. “Scaling up” was the phrase used at a conference that I attended this week, run by the Enterprise Research Centre. It made much of the fact that, in the US in particular, they are far more effective at scaling up their businesses than we are. There are lessons to be learnt by listening to companies that want to grow about what is holding them back. It is not access to finance or red tape and regulation—with the exception of planning, of course, but that is a problem still for so many businesses. My noble friend Lord Grade is eloquent on the issue of the nearly 10 years that it took to get permission for Pinewood to extend its development. So much was put in jeopardy over that 10-year period. In the end, Pinewood got the sensible solution—it was allowed to go ahead, but after 10 years of agony.
What would really help those small companies, many of them in the creative industries, to benefit in negotiating new markets? They want help in finding their way into export markets. PLASA, the trade association which represents companies in the entertainment and technology field—I should say that it stands for Professional Lighting and Sound Association, in case, like me, noble Lords are a bit of a nerd when it comes to acronyms—finds that its members have difficulty in negotiating the numerous government schemes around to help companies. I know that the Government are moving to simplify the system, and BIS is at work, but anything that could be done to make it easier for smaller companies to access the help that already exists would be important. One thing would be to get them on more trade missions, as creative companies do not dominate them at the moment, and they would really be useful contributors. That would help—and it would help, too, if we could persuade our bigger companies to nurture and mentor the smaller companies. It happens a bit in manufacturing, where Unilever is doing it; there is no reason why it should not happen in the creative industries more than it does.
The creative industries are so diverse and so exciting that I could far outlast my allotted time in talking about them. I am conscious that there are many aspects of the creative world that I have not touched on, but I shall rely on others to do justice to our brilliant creators of books, music and television. If the creative industries are to continue to flourish, it is important that our schools nurture the creative urge in children from the earliest age but do not stop when they leave primary school. We all have the ability to be creative in one way or another, and it would be to the country’s benefit if that ability were fostered. In today’s digital world, people need to have mastered the basics of education, but if we are to continue to build a world-beating creative sector and industry generally, we need people who can think creatively. Where would Apple be without the benefits of a talented British designer? An appreciation of arts and culture fosters the creative instinct. Let us ensure that our children are given the chance to enjoy the rich variety of delight that the creative arts have to offer.
My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Wheatcroft, for securing this debate. It is most important and most timely. Unfortunately—when I say “unfortunately”, I mean it with complimentary intent—her speech was so comprehensive and brilliant that I could spend most of the rest of my speech saying “as the noble Baroness, Lady Wheatcroft, said”. She has enabled me to cross out several pages of what I was going to say, which will be a relief for everybody in this House—but then I thought, “Well, repetition has its place”. It had better have. We remember:
“A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!”—
one of Shakespeare’s best lines; or in “Macbeth”—
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow”—
another good line; so I am going in behind those two. My next remark is exactly like the noble Baroness’s, so I am going to stop this and get on with it.
The creative industry in this country is a beacon. It has high skills of a world-class order, a phrase which I shall use time and again. That can be proved but, as the noble Baroness, Lady Wheatcroft, said, we do not have the time. It is niche-rich in the crafts and arts of film-making; in everything to do with stagecraft and the people who appear on stage; and in the performing arts. One of its great practitioners and exemplars, my friend the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd-Webber, is in his place today, and I am very pleased to see him here. He has proved that bringing talents together in this city can topple what was thought to be an unassailable fact, that only Americans can do musical theatre. That went for a burton some time ago.
The creative arts in this country are also extraordinarily efficient. There is still a lingering idea that these are long-haired—I am sorry about that—people drooping around the place who cannot really knit. In fact, if you look at plays, exhibitions, films, programmes and concerts, you find that they open when they say they will, they run for as long as they say will, and they almost all come out making some sort of profit and give great delight and hurt not. They also produce massive returns for a little investment, as the noble Baroness, Lady Wheatcroft, also said. For £1 of state investment £2, £12 or £16 comes back. It is an extraordinary economic feat and, again, despite being put to the fore in the opening speech, that fact is often obscured. We somehow do not like to think that the arts make money. We think it is art for art’s sake, meaning they will get on with it and we need not bother about it.
We have to bother about it now because of the power that the arts are bringing to us all over the place. Reputationally, they have become our cultural world service. Wherever you go, people know about British writers, British theatre, British actors—and on and on it goes. This is a benign influence. It not only brings money back to the country but shines the right sort of light on this country and brings the right sort of prestige in area after area. I compare what is going on in the arts with what is going on in scientific research in this country. We have less than 1% of the world’s population yet we publish more than 16% of the research documents in science. We are second only to America. We punch way above our weight, and we do almost precisely the same in the arts.
We also are provenly dynamic in bringing together and cohering communities that have almost fallen apart and in enlightening those which have been lying quiet for some time. A small example is in the county of Cumbria, where a grant to the Kendal Brewery Arts Centre will give it a place in the cultural rural economy of the Lake District which will undoubtedly enhance it. The word “subsidy” should be made redundant. I think it should be banned because it is nothing like a subsidy. It is an investment and “investment” has a positive and decent ring to it. That investment in Kendal will create more jobs and activity and bring what the Lake District desperately needs, which is a coherence of the cultural possibilities in that area. We see the same in Manchester, Gateshead and cities and towns all over the country. We have more than 350 literary festivals and almost as many music festivals, art festivals, dance festivals and documentary film festivals. There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. They are bringing not only pleasure to people like us—me, everybody here, and everybody else—but a feeling that there is something that can be done with that which we thought was just a side issue, and on it goes.
The popularity of the arts is astounding. Who would have thought 15 or 20 years ago that the British Museum would be the greatest visitor attraction in this country? Who would have thought 10 or 15 years ago that more people would go to Tate Modern than to Arsenal? Who would have thought that you could scarcely get a ticket for the RSC or the National Theatre or for the work done by the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd-Webber, or all over the West End? Whether it is a straight play or musical theatre or whatever, the venues are packed out and people are piling in to see these creations in the arts which are coming from the people who live here.
We have such resources when we decide to put them together. We are working towards something that has ceased to be a small matter or something we can ignore. Take the BBC, for instance. It is a unique cultural institution. It is the biggest institution of its kind in this country and probably in the world. It is a great force for the arts. The Proms are about to start. Radio 4 is the biggest commissioner of drama in the world. We have had “Wolf Hall”, and we have arts programmes. Then, there are arts on ITV and Channel 4, and Sky Arts commissions new drama and new arts programmes and is rolling along. That conglomeration in one place makes this city, as well as Manchester, Glasgow and, to a certain extent, Cardiff, a whirlpool of interconnecting talents and possibilities which brings together people who are creating an industry which is worth calling and treating like an industry. I have not even mentioned the great schools of drama, music and dance which bear comparison with—and, in fact, exceed—most in the rest of the world.
So why are we slashing and tampering with key investments when the arts are in such a strong state? It makes no sense to me. State intervention in various areas can seem risky, but it is not at all risky in the arts, as the noble Baroness, Lady Wheatcroft, pointed out. There does not seem to be a single risk-taker. All over the place, small amounts are being put in and huge amounts are coming back, but in many cases it depends on a key contribution from the state or local authorities. It is almost like a virtuous triangle: the state puts in something which is almost like a key—it unlocks, it is an enabler; then sponsors come in; and then the box office comes in and the thing will roll. Why do you need the key in the lock in the first place? It is because quite a lot of what happens in the arts has to happen with no money coming in. It is called research, preparation or rehearsal. Nothing is coming in at all. That happened, for example, with “Matilda”. The amount of time that took to research could not be paid for by box office or sponsors, because there were none; it was not being performed. It had to have something to keep it going. Now it is cascading money into this country from performances all over the world. The key question is: why do the Government not feed what is patently so successful and works across the social waterfront? What is to be gained by starving it? It is baffling.
Look at what the Government do with their money elsewhere. Look at Defra, whose antics seem directed at laming the farming industry. That gets money all over the place and wasted all over the place, and nobody seems to bother very much. Look at our defence procurement, which is ridiculous and scandalous—these ships that have not been built for planes that have not arrived, or pilots whom we cannot train. What has that to do with any sense? But we go along with it, we bear it, and we think it is for some common good. I do. I wish they would move faster and that our defence was better, but there you go; we put up with it. It gets masses of money compared with what is given to the arts. And so it goes on. The amount that we spend on law, sometimes on cases that last more than 30 years, has gone beyond ridicule. It is a disgrace. It is silly. Noble Lords, I am sure, will be interested to know that in Athens, where the sort of law that we approve of started, every case took one day and took place in the marketplace. We could learn a little from that, but we need not go that far. We could learn something from all the money that is spent and squandered in those ways.
So why are the creative arts penalised—as they are at the moment—when they should be not only celebrated but encouraged to grow? It is a thriving sector; it is not, as people think, an add-on. William Morris wrote:
“I do not want art for a few, any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few”.
What we want is as many people as possible to be awakened to the possibilities of art. As we have said, it is to do with comprehensive and compulsory teaching in schools, letting people use their imaginations and following through people’s imaginations. We know that children are very imaginative and what they can do, and then it stops, not because of some biological clock-stopping but because it is not given opportunities and cultivated. But if we have a layer of possible creativity from the very beginning, there is very little that we cannot achieve in this country.
We have a fair chance of catching up with the mineral-rich countries, the population-rich countries and the industry-rich countries if we follow this line in our economy, if we release, as it were, the dark matter in more and more people—still too few, as William Morris said. We should let loose ideas and liberate people who can come forward—as many have done increasingly, but not enough—to challenge, to change and to make things glow, whether in science or the arts, and create an economy that feels completely different. It will have to be, because this is the century, in my view, in which all the prizes will go to the most creative. We have all the building blocks in place. What we need is enlightenment from the centre.
My Lords, those are two very hard acts to follow, but I will try. I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Wheatcroft, for bringing this debate. Back in 2007, I brought a similar debate. In those days, “creative industries” was a relatively unused term that was rather resented by the cultural community, but I think it was wrong. The fact is that the creative sector, alongside being central to the well-being of society as well as individuals, also means well-being for the economy, as we have already heard. The Victorians understood this. They created a department of science and art and invested in what was to become the V&A in order to develop skills needed to feed British industry—and the creative industries sector emphatically means well-being for this country’s economy.
As the House of Lords Committee on Soft Power recognised in a report last year, the UK’s cultural collections, institutions, industries and media continue to create powerful channels of communication that help us to increase the UK’s profile, forge links internationally and widen our sphere of influence. I am fortunate enough to be the Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Mexico and have seen this at work first hand. I have also seen how these cultural and creative elements increase our prosperity by fostering trade and investment.
The year 2015 is the year of the UK in Mexico and of Mexico in the UK. It is a celebration of cultural, educational and business exchange, but at its heart is culture. But it is not just about the likes of the wonderful Mayas exhibition, which opens tomorrow at Tate Liverpool. This weekend there will be a V&A sponsored event called “Digital Futures”. Workshops and events happening in Mexico City and Dundee will be linked via the web, and the two communities will be able to develop and design projects together. That is creativity and industry.
Before the election, we Liberal Democrats published a strategy paper, The Power of Creativity, to which the chair of Arts Council England, Sir Peter Bazalgette, contributed this thought:
“There’s a new political agenda for the arts in addition to their intrinsic value. It features the importance of the rapidly growing creative industries and the way the arts supply them with vital talent”.
Artists have long been intrigued by discoveries of science and technology. All those who saw Mike Leigh’s wonderful film about Turner will have seen how he was inspired by the scientific research of colleagues in the Royal Academy. Increasingly, inventors are recognising the value of creative skills in maximising the potential of their products, and are working in ever closer collaboration with those who possess those skills.
Notions of “us” and “them”, a perceived opposition between those who practise science and those who practise art, and between those who are creative and those who pursue commerce, are being proved obsolete. To ensure that our next generation is a generation of creators, schools need to be encouraged to promote not just science or art but the art-science crossover. The success of those in the creative industries lies in the fusion of technology and creative skills. Yesterday I was at a British Council event where the brilliant, and if I may say so very handsome, Thomas Heatherwick was present. He is the creator, among other things, of the Olympic cauldron, a wonderful example of the fusion of technology and creativity.
We have a skills shortage in the creative industries, and yet they offer such vibrant, exciting, rewarding careers for our young people. I know this, having worked for many years in the television industry. To enhance access to these skills and careers, we must address our education system. Does the Minister not agree that Ofsted should be asked to monitor the curriculum so that no school can easily drop subjects such as music, art or drama; that the rollout of new high-status GCSEs in creative subjects should be completed as soon as possible; and—I cannot believe that I am still asking this—that Darren Henley’s national plan for cultural education should finally be fully implemented?
Then there is the careers advice that is on offer, or the lack of it. I welcome initiatives that are helping young people, such as First Story, a charity run by Katie Waldegrave and William Fiennes. They nurture creative talent and help to build communication skills through providing creative-writing workshops in state secondary schools. The National Art & Design Saturday Club, run by the Sorrell Foundation, founded by Sir John and Lady Frances Sorrell, similarly provides schoolchildren with the environment in which to learn from industry experts, for free, in colleges and universities across the country. The club helps young people to gain qualifications and gives them an understanding of careers in the creative industries. Does the Minister not agree that we need more institutions and businesses from the creative industries collaborating with schools in this way to provide high-quality careers advice? We also need more schools coming on board to show what a career in the creative industries can mean.
Then there is the problem of the lack of diversity across the creative industries. It is essential that they reflect 21st-century UK—our vibrant, creative, multicultural country—but they do not. That means that so much potential is being excluded. As the now well-deserved “Sir” Lenny Henry drew attention to in his BAFTA TV lecture last year, between 2006 and 2012 the number of BMEs working in the UK TV industry declined by 30.9%. Creative Skillset conducted a census that showed quite clearly that black and Asian minority ethnic representation in the creative industries in 2012 was just 5.4%—the lowest rate since it started taking a census—and it is not getting better.
The then DCMS Minister of State, Ed Vaizey, who I am glad to say is still the Minister of State, responded and established a round table that was cross-party—it included me as a member—and included representatives from across the industry to address the issue. Will the Minister confirm that it will continue to meet—I hope that I can say “we”—and will push for actions and results? It cannot be yet another talking shop.
To pick up on something that the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, said, support for culture and the arts feeds into the economy at regional level. It is of great concern that in certain parts of the country disproportionate cuts have been inflicted by local government. It is also, as he said, short-sighted. We know that putting money into culture is an investment rather than simply a subsidy—I agree that we should get rid of that word—in that it revitalises local economies and regenerates neighbourhoods that have seen traditional industries decline. I declare an interest as a trustee of the Lowry in Salford, which is a prime example. This place of culture has been a resounding success as a catalyst for the regeneration of Salford Quays, the development there of Media City and the consequent expansion of the local economy. Does the Minister agree that it would be a good idea for local authorities to be required to publish their spending per head on culture and the arts?
As I mentioned earlier, I had a career in television before politics. Charter renewal is upon us and I hope the Minister will agree that the BBC, funded by the licence fee, should be protected and celebrated, and that Channel 4 should remain in public ownership, because as well as showcasing British culture and creativity at home and abroad, the broadcast media also function as an important stimulus for the creative industry as a whole and as such are a major contributor to our creative economy. We are a creative nation living in a rapidly changing world driven by young people and young technologies. The creative industries, as the noble Baroness, Lady Wheatcroft, said, are on a roll. We are ahead of the game. Let us make sure that we stay there.
My Lords, I cannot disagree with a single word that I have heard so far. In fact, when the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, mentioned repetition in:
“A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!”,
I felt that the only retort I could make would be a vocalisation of the opening of Beethoven’s fifth symphony—ba ba ba bom, ba ba ba bom! Those notes were a great beacon to the civilised world in the Second World War. Everything that we create has repetition and variation. It is a synthesis of what has passed. That is why it is so important. In looking forwards, we look backwards and we educate.
I congratulate the Government on honouring their manifesto pledge to empower local people and councils to have more say in the siting of onshore wind farms. This does indeed affect the economy and culture of areas such as mid-Wales, where national monuments such as Offa’s Dyke and Repton’s Stanage Park, which is grade-1 listed, have been under threat of visual blight.
It is in many ways a privilege to stand here in your Lordships’ House as one of several representatives of the creative industry of this country, because the artistic achievements, the sheer talent and the rewards that this part of our society generates are nothing short of magnificent. As we have heard, those rewards are so diverse: they bring £76.9 billion into our economy by the Government’s own figures. They entertain and amuse us and they shine a light on to what it is to be a human being.
Schopenhauer said that because of its non-representational nature and being independent of natural phenomena, music is able to reveal truths about the essence of things, of life indeed, and we know that it can often communicate where words fail. That civilising quality is not restricted to paying audiences or to congregations worshipping in some of the most glorious churches and cathedrals anywhere in the world, or listening to great choirs singing the masterly polyphony of our past—Byrd, Tallis, Gibbons—and now the living work of my colleagues such as James MacMillan, newly knighted, to whom I offer many congratulations. Yet he would be the first to tell you—and he did when he came and performed here at Parliament—that this rich and, for the moment, thriving community must be restocked, as he was clearly doing with the schoolchildren he brought to play to us. Far too many children get little or no music or exposure to the other arts, as the pianist and animateur James Rhodes also told us recently. Yet we know that through music and the arts children thrive and have an emotional outlet and, as with sport, learn to listen and co-ordinate as part of a group.
Let me take an extreme example of the conundrum that we find ourselves in. The news that Sir Simon Rattle is to return to these shores has been welcomed by many, but his desire to see a new concert hall has met with rather more divided enthusiasm. Yet we do not have an orchestral venue in London that can compete with the Wigmore Hall’s acoustics for chamber music, or those of Kings Place. Some say that having a new hall that would be the equal of the Musikverein in Vienna or the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam cannot be contemplated while music education is so underfunded and could really do with the several hundred million pounds being talked about for the new hall. However, Sir Simon Rattle, when he went to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, was the catalyst for the building of the wonderful Symphony Hall, Birmingham, and I have no doubt that his commitment, charm, celebrity and talent will galvanise some of the wealthy businessmen in the City of London—in other words, tap funds that would probably not anyway be going to music education.
Were that to be successful, we would gain a brilliant new hall without compromising the essential work in schools that we all value so highly. So here is a very practical suggestion for the Minister—one that will cost nothing. Act as an enabler and a motivator to still further the pre-eminence of this country’s standing in the cultural world by giving the capital a hall worthy of those not only abroad but in Birmingham or Manchester.
This issue is interrelated to education, as Sir Simon Rattle would be the first to tell you, because there is not much point in building a fabulous hall if we are no longer getting the young players coming through to refresh our orchestras and ensembles for the future. That includes the hugely successful musicals by the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd-Webber, and the whole of the pop industry as well—this is not an elitist plea. Great musicians work in different areas. Indeed, I have done that during my life and have found it most enriching.
This is an area that is ripe for research and development, yet as we have heard—unlike for the film industry, for example—no funds are available. That is another area that the Government might look at. Additionally, there are no funds at present for librettists to work up a scenario before the exquisitely expensive undertaking of mounting a new opera or musical begins—and so too late in the day something that might have been ironed out at a developmental stage remains to spoil the end product. We all say, “If only, if only”. I know, of course, that money is scarce. I am deliberately trying to assist the Government with ideas that are possibly doable. I accept that the music hubs are a very good development but I really would like to see the Minister from the DCMS holding hands with the Education Minister—we are, after all, talking about the arts community. To further improve music in schools is, I think, the most crucial matter.
That takes me, in a roundabout way, to the BBC and its future. So many artistic achievements are initiated and brought to a wider audience—to those who of course pay for them and the BBC—by the corporation, which is doing a job that we perhaps take for granted. In declaring an interest here as both a composer and a broadcaster, I must say that many guests, especially those from less-privileged backgrounds, who have appeared on my programme “Private Passions” describe the ray of light that was the BBC Third Programme, now Radio 3. The playwright Alan Plater, for example, said that he owed his entire music education completely to the BBC. If I may say so, “In Our Time” on Radio 4 is a quite remarkable tool of enlightenment and education.
Finally, on intellectual property, if the Government wish to safeguard this thriving economy, as they say they do, then they must be alive to the difficulties that all creators face in how to protect their rights, given the avalanche of new technology. Of course, we all embrace the wonders of the internet and the ability to share and spread ideas but, if it is allowed to castrate our recording and publishing industries, we and the Exchequer will suffer grievously. I am not entirely satisfied that the Government have fully got to grips with our—the creators’, and hence the economy’s—needs in this respect. There is so much to celebrate but also much to nurture and reinvest in. As we have heard, many small companies are in desperate straits, but the facts are there: investment in this section of our society reaps incredible rewards.
My Lords, first, I wish to apologise to my noble friend Lady Wheatcroft. I have been working in America and I am afraid that, because of my timing, I missed the first couple of minutes—I am so sorry. I congratulate her hugely on bringing this debate. How thrilling it is to hear the word “investment” rather than “subsidy”. As I am sure all noble Lords know, the creative industries grew, according to the DCMS figures, by 10% in 2013, which is three times greater than for the wider economy. We employ 1.7 million in the creative industries—or we did in 2013—which is 5.6% of total employment in the UK. The speakers preceding me have dealt with the various issues that I wanted to talk about so eloquently that I will now restrict myself to talking about the world of theatre and music.
Once again, I have boring statistics, but they are interesting—the West End received 14.7 million visitors last year and paid nearly £104 million in VAT. Others, I am sure, will work out how much of that came back to the arts but I am afraid that I do not have those figures. Broadway lagged a little behind with 13 million visitors but its gross paid admission for last year was a staggering $1.36 billion. That makes one realise how extraordinary it is—and how lucky I am—to be working in live entertainment, which of course you cannot pirate. Therefore, I completely support the views of the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley of Knighton, about how we must protect all forms of intellectual copyright. Luckily, in theatre, that is not so much of an issue.
As I have been working in America now for the past few months, I thought that I would remind the House of our representation on Broadway. I quickly note—I apologise if I leave any out—that we have “Les Misérables” running on Broadway, “Matilda”, “The Audience”, “Skylight”, “Wolf Hall”, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”, “Mamma Mia!” and some musical about a bloke in a mask. I was really interested to see how the Tony awards went this year. The award for best play went to “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” and best musical went to a musical called “Fun Home”. Next year—much to my chagrin I am afraid, as I have a musical coming to Broadway next year—I know that it will be won by a musical called “Hamilton”, which has already been tried out at the Public Theater in New York and is, in my view, a ground-changing musical that will change many people’s attitude about what the musical can achieve. I mention that because all these shows have something in common. “Fun Home”, “Hamilton” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” all started in publicly supported, or subsidised—or I should say “invested in”—theatres. The Public Theater and the Circle in the Square Theatre, where the two American shows started, are somewhat dissimilar to our system because, although there is some public finance available, support comes, on the whole, from philanthropists.
This is all by way of saying that it is absolutely vital that we realise the importance of the investment that we have in the arts. Five of the eight British musicals and plays being staged in New York came from either the Royal Shakespeare Company or the National Theatre. We have to consider, as other noble Lords have said, that every pound we spend will come back over and over again.
That brings one to education, because music in education is something that I feel extremely passionate about. I have seen the amazing impact that music has had on students at Highbury Grove School in Islington where, as I am sure many noble Lords know, every child is, in their first term, given a free violin. Through music, that school, which was considered to be pretty much at the bottom of the heap a few years ago, has now turned around and had its first child enter Oxford, which is a pretty extraordinary achievement. It is now a school that everybody wishes to attend. Music in education is absolutely vital. It concerns me that, when I was a junior at the Royal College of Music, it was free, but now you have to pay.
That leads me to my real concern—on which I ask the House to support me—that we must make sure that our young people have access to the training that they need in music and theatre and all areas of the creative industries. It is extremely worrying that, to go to a stage school or theatre college, you now have to pay such an enormous amount of money that it is being left to foundations and others to fill the funding gap with scholarships. It concerns me how many people may be slipping through the gap. The other night, in New York, an extremely well-known film director—I will not mention his name, although the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, will probably be able to guess; he is of the same political persuasion as the noble Lord—said to me that he was worried that the best stage school in Britain was Eton. We must address the fact that funding is vital now for young people in all the performing arts.
Finally, picking up on the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley of Knighton, about the concert hall in Britain, I use the opportunity to remind noble Lords that one of the difficulties that we face in the West End is that many of our theatres were built in the Victorian era. A very positive thing that the Government could do would be to look at perhaps relaxing the guidelines on the listing of these buildings to make them more appropriate to today’s use. As I said, there are difficulties when you consider that many of our theatres have galleries, with separate entrances for those galleries. However, they are not really fit for modern performances, and that is an issue that one day will have to be grappled with in a major way.
In conclusion, once more I say passionately that the word “investment” should be substituted for “subsidy”.
My Lords, I declare an interest as a BBC producer. I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Wheatcroft, on her continued support for the creative industries.
This debate comes at a very important time for the broadcast industry in which I work. There are great British success stories from across the independent media production sector. Not only have there been increasing numbers of commissions from foreign broadcasters but the global streaming giants, such as Netflix and Amazon, are also investing in original content from the UK. My former colleague Alastair Fothergill, who runs Silverback Films in Bristol, has just completed a multimillion-pound deal with Netflix to produce an eight-part landmark natural history series called “Our Planet”, which will be a follow-up to “Planet Earth”, and there is serious talk that Jeremy Clarkson could set up a production company to start making programmes for Netflix.
British independent TV, radio and digital production companies are riding the wave of this new economy. The sector has in 10 years gone from a small cottage industry to making £3.1 billion last year. A third of that content is being provided for foreign, internet and broadcast channels. However, two-thirds is still being made for UK channels. This country is still the most important market by far for the independents. In fact, almost all the production in certain genres, such as output for children, religion and high-end science, history and arts, is made for the British market, and the BBC is one of the most important clients. It spent 46% of it content investment last year with independents, generating nearly half a billion pounds in revenue. BBC Worldwide is also the largest distributor of television content outside the United States, and so sells on the independents’ work across the globe.
However, I fear that the Government are putting this great success at serious risk. Their manifesto commitment to freeze the BBC licence fee is threatening one of our great success stories, and I am told that a freeze would be a good outcome. There is a possibility that the licence fee will be reduced, as well as being top sliced for non-broadcast services, which is what is happening under the present charter agreement. If the freeze goes ahead, by 2020 the BBC will have shrunk by half—maybe more—compared with the previous decade. Of course, there are strenuous efforts to generate funds from elsewhere—BBC Worldwide generates £1 billion in revenue—but the licence fee remains at the core of its funding.
The role of the BBC is crucial in supporting the independent production market across the whole of the British television industry. A reduction in its spending is mirrored by a reduction in spending by other public service broadcasters. What Ofcom said in its latest report is interesting. It stated that,
“ITV may be incentivised to invest only to the degree required to compete effectively for share. It mainly competes with BBC One, given the comparative reach and share of the two channels ... The level of BBC (and especially BBC One) investment in first-run original programmes therefore appears to be a contributory factor in stimulating ITV to spend more through competition”.
Indeed, the figures for investment by the two channels bear out the extent to which they shadow each other. The Ofcom report shows that in 2008 the BBC spent nearly £1 billion on original output, while ITV spent almost the same amount. By 2013, BBC1 was down to £747 million and ITV to £794 million. I fear that a freezing of the BBC licence fee will see spending by UK public service broadcast channels reduce further over the next charter period.
A reduction in public funding will affect the upfront revenue for production companies and will threaten what is becoming one of their most important sources of revenue: intellectual property, to which my noble friend Lord Berkeley referred—that is, the rights paid for reuse of the original content. Under the Communications Act 2003, the PSBs in this country are mandated to let independent production companies keep much of their intellectual property, once the original programme has been shown a number of times and for a certain length of time on digital catch-up services. For instance, when BBC Store is set up later this year to allow audiences to buy their favourite programmes, independent producers will be able to negotiate an extra fee for their content. In a world in which more and more programme content is watched at different times on the internet, there are all sorts of opportunities for independent producers to exploit this IP.
However, the ability of producers to exploit their intellectual property is not mandated for contracts outside those of the public service broadcasters in this country. It does not apply to Netflix, Amazon or a host of foreign markets, which are buying content from this country. Most of the producers are simply paid a one-off fee to make the programme and all the subsequent rights are held by the company which commissioned it. The producers do not have the right to exploit their content or to reuse it in ever more imaginative ways. A reduction in BBC funding would obviously inhibit the growth in extra IP revenue for independent producers and it would not be easily replaced by the contracts negotiated with foreign-based buyers.
I know that the Government want a smaller BBC but a smaller BBC will have wider ramifications for the whole media economy in this country. It is the bedrock of one of our most dynamic industries. I should like to ask the Minister whether he is concerned that a reduction in the BBC licence fee would adversely affect the economic success of this great British success story. After all, is not this Government the champion of business—small business and entrepreneurs?
My Lords, I have just spent a few wonderful days at an example of the creative economy at work. I have just come back from the Aldeburgh music festival. Aldeburgh is a charming seaside town in an area of outstanding natural beauty, but music has transformed it into a world-class cultural and learning centre—a centre of excellence. Last year, 25,000 tickets were sold to audiences from more than 20 countries. This is the tourism referred to by the noble Baroness. However, that does not reflect all the work that goes on. Master classes for promising musicians are given by world-famous artists. These same world-famous musicians give free outreach performances to develop new audiences, given during the day in a bandstand on the beach or in a car park in Ipswich—“restocking”, as the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, put it.
Then there are the new commissions and first performances, activities which continue throughout the year. Last year, 100,000 tickets were sold to people who demand a good infrastructure of places to stay, places to eat, places to shop, galleries to visit, walks to take and bicycles to ride, as well as to hear music, make music, develop talent and create new music.
Aldeburgh may be a charming town but it is away from the amenities of London or any other major city, so it has little creative infrastructure to sustain it. It is a clear example of the creative economy creating and working, showing that something can be done, as my noble friend Lord Bragg put it.
I use the phrase “creative economy” because I am a little wary of the words “creative industry”. I am wary because these broad classifications can be misleading. I know that the City likes them and they can be used to produce impressive numbers—the noble Baroness gave us some, as did other noble Lords—but I learnt to be wary of broad classification very early on. I trained as a textile engineer and started work just at the time when the industry lost its quota and tariff protection and was obviously in trouble. The word was that there was no future in textiles, but some of us were not put off by that broad classification. Some created the fashion industry. I went into the aircraft industry and started creating fabrics that met the stringent requirements of the Air Registration Board, designed to suit the airlines. Others went into the health industry, with fabrics that deterred bugs but were designed to suit the hospital decor. You see, we were not going to be categorised.
That is why, when the DCMS produced its list of creative industries, I was a little wary. You can have creative industries such as film and video or television and radio, but large parts of these industries are not creative, such as managing the buildings, managing the studios and supplying the equipment. Software and computer services is deemed to be a creative industry, but I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Wheatcroft, that it is as creative to write software for a milling machine or a 3D printer in the engineering industry as it is to write software for a computer game. We even have technology and algorithms to create augmented reality, so where does creativity begin and where does it end? It is essential that the DCMS has a clear view on this because it is the activity that is important to investment—the investment to which the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd-Webber, referred—and not just the industry. Arts may set the agenda but technology and engineering deliver it. You have to differentiate.
This is why I am in favour of the innovation index created by NESTA, which tries to measure the activity rather than the industry. What is the current thinking at DCMS about this? What is now on its list of creative activities? Designing and making a piece of jewellery is certainly creative, but what about selling it? Does not that distort the picture? The problem is that these creative activities are intangible—difficult to measure and difficult to separate.
However, the Office for National Statistics made a move towards this when it modified its way of measuring GDP last September and tried to include some of these intangible activities. It was right to do so because we need a more accurate and up-to-date picture. Creative activities are changing all the time and we have to be aware of this to ensure that the creative infrastructure is in place.
The Minister will know that at present the most important infrastructure for the creative industries is broadband. Every time he goes to a meeting or has a discussion, I am sure that this is the one issue that comes up again and again: the quality, width, availability and security of broadband. Can the Minister assure the House that the concerns of the creative sector are being taken into account when installing broadband? The impression that you get is that it is not. Now that we have the internet of things, the creative economy will need to be even better served.
Another infrastructure concern of the creative community is what I can refer to only as the creative ecology. By that I mean the carefully balanced mix of ownership, finance and control. In TV and radio, in theatre, in heritage, in art, we have a mix of ownership and finance—of publicly owned and financed, socially funded, and privately funded and owned. This mix has grown up over the years and there is a balance that seems to work for our creative sector, particularly as the arts move between them. The mix seems to support and stimulate each other and helps the arts make money, as my noble friend Lord Bragg said. Does the Minister’s department plan to maintain this balance or to alter it—for example, by changing the BBC licensing arrangements or the way in which public arts activities become private or commercial? Many noble Lords are very concerned about the BBC. This is a very delicate balance and I hope the Government will be very careful if they come to tamper with it.
I thank the noble Baroness for this debate. It is important to hear the views and experiences of noble Lords because the creative economy is not only wonderful days at Aldeburgh but an important part of developing every sector of our economy in surprising ways and surprising places. The noble Baroness spoke of scaling. She is right. High-value and high-growth areas of the economy, whatever the industry, benefit from creativity. It is part of the knowledge transfer network—the science and the arts together, as the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, put it.
I declare an interest as honorary president of one of these knowledge transfer networks. It was in this capacity that I heard that point made very strongly at the Graphene Show 2015, which was held in Manchester in April—I am sorry the Minister was not there—to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the discovery of graphene. The development of such a product requires the arts and industry to come together. If noble Lords want to see it in action, I hope they will come to the Cholmondeley Room on Tuesday, at 6.30 pm, where I am hosting an event to demonstrate it. I look forward to hearing from the Minister.
The creative economy is built on the skills, talent and imagination of the many. The notion of the exceptional is dispelled by a sector that, as we have already heard, provides 1.7 million jobs. While it is quite right to celebrate it, it is far from clear how new skills, talent and imagination are to be nurtured in order that we fulfil the promise of this vibrant sector.
My interests in this area are many. I am a working film director, I run a small production company, I am married to a playwright, I am a president of Voluntary Arts and a trustee of several organisations that have arts and education at their core. Rather than pointing out my own overcommitted schedule, I am just trying to make clear that I am embedded in the communities of which I wish to speak.
Her Majesty’s Government and the coalition before them supported the creative industries handsomely, with tax credits, loan schemes, enterprise guarantees and innovation funds, but these welcome investments do not automatically ensure exponential growth. Like any supply chain, it is only as good as its weakest link. So while the Government and the Treasury have been fair to the creative industries at this end of the chain, to make good on this investment we must look more carefully at the supply side.
For my generation of artists and creators, going to university was free, as were art school, film school and adult learning. There was a commitment to the arts as a tool of social mobility. Many of us remember commedia dell’arte and Brecht in primary school, mountains of clay and the help of the local potter, free recorders and violins—all standard interventions in perfectly unexceptional state schools. When we left our family homes, often much younger than 25, we lived in cheap flats or unwanted social housing on housing benefit. Small enterprise grants, schemes from the local council or a lowly industry job for which you were paid kept us going. We were not lazy or disaffected; we were writing, painting, imagining and making work while modestly receiving investment—I believe that is the word—from the state. It was an unintended consequence of our fervent activity that the faces that fill our screens, play our concert halls, represent us at the Venice Biennale, claim their BAFTAs, Tonys or Oscars and write our national stories are now proud contributors to the £76 billion that the creative industries contribute to the creative economy.
I do not want to misrepresent my community. There is a great deal of interest in making money and creating wealth, but there is a very indirect line between investment in the creators and the actual creation of that wealth. It is a delicate ecosystem that is not obedient to the laws of economics that one might reasonably apply to manufacturing or to more tangible services. Nevertheless, it is one that delivers very real economic results.
Our current pre-eminence on the world stage in the arts and creative industries is the result of multiple routes, many pockets of support and a fair amount of public tolerance that allowed a diverse population to develop its talent, skill and imagination. From this rosy past, we might consider the context for today’s young people. It is simply a tragedy that successive Education Ministers have devalued the arts in a structural way within the curriculum and by successive public utterances that suggest that studying science is the only way to job security and well-rewarded employment. This simply is not so. Our creative industries are burgeoning. We have an impending skills gap of at least 750,000 in digital alone—a sector that repeatedly cries out for those with maths and art, which is actively discouraged by our school system. Outside the creative industries lie another 950,000 creative jobs; that is one in 12 jobs in the UK.
What about student debt that has sucked the less privileged out of the humanities, arts and performing arts as they listen to the mood music and take a more cautious approach to their education or bypass further education altogether, or the proposal in front of us to deny housing benefit to the under-25s? These are the same under-25s who are routinely working for months on end as interns for no money in order to build their CVs, which automatically excludes the less well-off and those whose family homes are not in the few urban centres that house the creative industries. My concern is not about any single policy but a matrix of policies, of which these are but a few, creating insurmountable obstacles to the talented youngsters who might otherwise have been our next generation of creatives.
The Government may not feel that they have the resources to tackle all aspects of this environment, but they can give everyone a fair start. STEAM not STEM is what we need in our schools. STEAM not STEM is what the Commons CMS report, Supporting the Creative Economy, recommended. So do the CBI and an increasing number of mainstream employers who bemoan the lack of critical thinking and creative skills in our graduates. So too do Professor Ian Livingstone and Alex Hope, who worked on the computer curriculum, Sir Ken Robinson, teachers and head teachers and, indeed, noble Lords on all sides of this House.
I ask the Minister: when are we going to see arts, technology and science presented as an equal and interconnected whole, both in the curriculum and with the right mood music to accompany it? Without this commitment from government, I fear that the next generation will be a pale, posh shadow of the current one.
I turn from schools to our broader community. There is a tendency when talking about creativity to insist on the notion of the individual genius. I have been lucky enough to know a number of artistic geniuses. Even the more narcissistic and self-regarding of them would say that great art is made by groups of people and not by individuals, schools of thought, traditions of practice and active participation of colleagues; that their own practice is made possible by reflecting other people’s creativity, both past and present. This misconception is important, because the powerful notion that creativity is the realm of the exceptional individual casts a shadow over the creative ecosystem. People voluntarily coming together in groups is often seen as secondary to the real thing.
As president of Voluntary Arts, I recently attended the Epic Awards. One went to a music studio in Kirriemuir in Scotland that gives expression and skills to dozens of young people living in isolated villages across the valleys. Another went to two women from County Donegal who designed tiny micro-libraries, each no bigger than a bollard, open 24 hours a day, working on an honour system and situated in places of natural beauty. The local community walks or cycles to borrow a book, exercising the mind and body simultaneously. A third award went to the inspirational woman who, from her home in Birmingham, co-ordinates 170 other devoted knitters to knit prosthetics for women who cannot have, or who are waiting for, reconstructive breast surgery.
These outposts of creativity do more than simply charm. They are part of our national narrative of what it is to be an engaged citizen. From this great pool of an estimated 10 million UK citizens who pursue voluntary cultural activity emerge inventors, designers, small companies, creative services and individual artists. They are participants and wealth makers in our creative economy. I therefore ask the Minister to make a meaningful commitment to this important and much-overlooked group by protecting arts provision and the spaces to convene at local level. This is best done by ring-fencing arts budgets in the local authority settlements, or we will lose the fragile infrastructure upon which these communities depend.
I end by mentioning someone who is both an artist and a scientist. My friend of many years, Sir Antony Gormley, has an artistic practice that starts with the extraordinary task of wrapping himself in cling film and making a cast of his own body from which he then makes his sculpture, often on a monumental scale. There is no rational explanation for why this process should result in work of such meaning for populations as diverse as Gateshead, Aboriginal communities in Australia and the inhabitants of New York or St Petersburg. However, I have seen first hand how his work electrifies and moves people all over the planet. Sir Antony is a net contributor to tourism, our GVA, our soft power and our national identity. He employs artists and engineers, he works with foundries and galleries worldwide. No government policy could engineer such an endeavour as his—it is beyond reason; it is art—but government policy has the power to invite all our citizens to take their creativity seriously, and at the very least it should attempt to do no harm.
In a conversation last week, Professor Brian Cox said, “Physics has taught us that there was a beginning and that there will be an end, but it is art that will help us understand how to spend the vast time in between”. Without the next generation of creative children, without creative communities up and down the country, without the freedom to invent new artistic practice that is neither measurable nor sensible, we threaten the future growth of our creative industries and by extension its contribution to the economy. Perhaps more importantly still we may find that we have an inadequate supply of artists to imagine how we might spend the vast time that Professor Cox informs us we shall have to fill between the beginning and the end.
My Lords, what we have heard in the Chamber this afternoon, since my noble friend Lady Wheatcroft initiated this debate, proves that it is axiomatic that the creative activities of this country are central to our economic well-being. As the noble Viscount, Lord Colville, said, this has been enhanced by the applications of digital technology
Having started there, I think that the next question we need to ask is: what are we, as a society, going to do about that? While it is very easy to talk about creativity, it is sometimes perhaps a bit less obvious exactly what we mean by it. In my assessment, it entails two elements —an imaginative and interesting mind, coupled with an ability to express what that mind wants to convey. The question we then have to ask ourselves is this: is our education system achieving that for the next generation? I am no expert on education, which has never been a political topic on which I have any great expertise, but it is my impression—and, regrettably, this has been confirmed by someone in your Lordships’ House who knows a lot about it—that increasingly there is a tick-in-the-box, results-led framework around what is happening. It seems that the ghost of Mr Gradgrind is fingering the collar of successive Secretaries of State, and I believe that that is bad for creativity.
Another instance of the kind of thing that concerns me is the teaching of history. As far as I can see, history is increasingly being presented to the children of this country as being a combination of the Romans and the Holocaust. If one tries to imagine one’s perspective of the wider world based principally on those two points, a very strange picture emerges.
In the context of a discussion on creativity and the creative industries, one of the absolutely central things is to appreciate that failure is both inevitable and important. Second chances are especially important. We have simply got to avoid being too hidebound by formal qualifications in response to some kind of actual or moral audit that may surround in particular the early stages of these activities. Ability and potential are far more important than the qualifications which have been acquired. What matters is the potential to achieve something interesting and great and valuable for the future.
That being the case, the culture of the society we live in is important. Is it the case that we British people collectively value the attributes which are the seedbed of creativity in our society? I am afraid that if we look at society’s general attitude towards museums, concert halls, art galleries, architecture and landscape, we probably do not. Yet, if we listen to the evidence presented to us by my noble friend Lady Wheatcroft or read the essays published recently by Sir Peter Bazalgette of the Arts Council, it is increasingly clear that these things really do matter. But so frequently what is often reflected in various parts of the press is the fact that we Brits pride ourselves on being plain people who know what we like, and we do not like that fancy stuff. That is a very bad context for encouraging creativity more widely. While I would never stand up in your Lordships’ House and commend the French way of managing the economy, I do think that the French attitude to culture is one that we could emulate to our advantage in this country.
Potentially for the economy, it is just as important for people to go to art and drama colleges and music schools as it is for them to train to be accountants. After all, we should remember that when Dr Johnson was looking at Thrale’s brewery before it was to be sold, he commented that you were not simply looking at vats and furnaces, but at,
“the potentiality of growing rich beyond the dreams of avarice”.
Are we as a society training people properly for the creative industries? My guess is that we are not.
I want to touch on one particular instance which arose earlier in the debate: the discussions on the future of the BBC. Over the past few years I have done quite a lot of work in and around television and the media, and there is a wide range of opinion about the role and place of the BBC in the creative economy. What is interesting is that I have never heard anyone demur from the proposition that the BBC fills a very important role in training people in the sector who then go on to do great things in the non-public areas of television and broadcasting. If the BBC is demolished for whatever reason, that training function will be lost unless it is specifically reinstated, and it is self-evident that that is not in the national interest.
What else could be potentially damaging to the creative industries? We need to be on our guard against the pernicious influence of conventional wisdom and political correctness, because they can and do get in the way of imagination and important contributions. I am thinking about this in the context of the present furore surrounding the remarks of Sir Tim Hunt, a man I have never met and know nothing about, and I do not think I understand what his great achievement was. However, it reminds me of the debate when Galileo suggested that the universe was not organised in quite the way the Roman Catholic Church would have us believe. Against that background, Sir Tim Hunt is a Nobel prize winner. Is there anyone in your Lordships’ House who would not swap their peerage for a Nobel prize? Is there anyone sitting in this Chamber who has not on occasion said something silly or done something that perhaps they would rather they had not? I do not think so. What Sir Tim Hunt did was to say something silly and foolish, which I am sure on a moment’s reflection he regrets deeply, but is the response of University College London and the Royal Society right? The peccadillo he committed is far less than the peccadillo they have committed, and I hope personally that he will be reinstated to the positions he held before. In this House we are quite rightly concerned to look at our rules of self-regulation and we exclude those who have served prison sentences, but there is no suggestion that those who commit parking offences should be expelled. We must be on our guard against political correctness and conventional wisdom.
It has also been mentioned that people in the creative world are often rather difficult. I am sure that that is right. Here in Parliament we live in a world where the whips exercise great influence and power. Almost by definition, the people who are some of the greatest contributors to the creative world are those who are the most difficult and whose way of life perhaps might be criticised by, to pluck an example, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Were Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, to name just two, people whose other activities made them easy to deal with? The answer is no, and while not every difficult person is a great artist, nevertheless sometimes we have to accept that that is the way God made us all.
Finally, let us remember that a vast amount of the output of the creative industries is, let us be clear about it, pretty good rubbish, but that is the price we pay for works of genius. There is a process of sifting and elimination, and we should not criticise because a certain amount of what is made by the creators in our society is either not to our taste or, frankly, pretty meretricious. If you do not have all that, you will not get the gems either.
The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, touched on the fact that it is important that those who achieve something get the rewards to which they are entitled. I should comment in parenthesis that my wife is a retired photographer, so I have a slight first-hand experience of this. It is important that the rules on intellectual property should reward properly those who have made a contribution.
In a completely different way, I should declare that I am involved in hill farming, I am the chairman of the Cumbria Local Nature Partnership and president of the Uplands Alliance. My home area, like that of the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, has been nominated by this country to UNESCO to be recognised as a world heritage site because of its importance as a cultural landscape. That is self-evident because it is difficult to conceive of the Romantic poets without the Lake District. As we speak, some farms in the heads of the dales are closing down and going out of business because the returns are simply such that people are not prepared to go on. If we want a creative industry, we have to make sure that the people who are doing things that matter and make a contribution can make a livelihood from so doing.
In a world where the underlying economic approach to government seems to be dominated by 19th century concepts of political economy, I have always been slightly amused—I was a junior Minister in the Department of National Heritage some 20 years ago—by the relationship between politicians and artists. It is a rather uncomfortable one and it has always brought up a wry smile in me because they are not natural bedfellows. Nevertheless, it is important to recognise that wealth in this country and in the contemporary world is not calibrated simply in pounds and pence, rather it is that if you approach these matters in a slightly more relaxed way, you end up creating a lot more money than otherwise you would have done, for the benefit of everyone.
My Lords, I want to focus on the arts, education and the BBC. As many have already pointed out, the creative industries as a whole are becoming increasingly successful. Yet because the current definition of this group is wide, these industries are also dizzyingly various in character. The successes of some are not necessarily the successes of others, and the problems of some are not necessarily the problems of others, although—as I will come to—there are significant overlaps. It is becoming all too easy for some of the so-described creative industries to get lost in the mix. I cite in particular the arts and cultural sector as an area which, in contrast to some others, has been neglected of late.
The arts and cultural sector is of course important in its own right for its intrinsic value, for its contribution to what we might term an all-important cultural economy. I will return to this, but the arts and arts education also have another value within the context of this debate as part of the engine which drives many of the creative industries. We neglect that engine at our peril. For example, Jo Twist, the chief executive officer of UKIE—the UK Interactive Entertainment Association, the trade body of the UK’s games industry—has said that what the games industry is crying out for most is people from the arts: fine artists, musicians and film-makers. The industry has to go abroad to find these people, which is a crazy situation. As Jo Twist says, the reason for this is that:
“In all parts of creative industries there is not often as much crossover as you’d like to see”.
The Arts and Humanities Research Council analysis called the Brighton Fuse project, which was carried out in the Brighton and Hove area, looked at 500 new digital businesses. It discovered that those businesses containing a good balance between employees with backgrounds in arts and backgrounds in technology were growing three times faster than those without this balance. All the evidence points to the importance of the arts to the new digital and tech industries, but our arts education in schools and universities does not reflect this reality. Instead it is suffering from the cuts in general, which in schools have particularly affected arts departments. Moreover, too many arts departments, despite the dedication of arts teachers, are treated as isolated outposts within schools.
Ofsted needs to report on the quality and presence of the arts within schools. It is crucial that STEM becomes STEAM, so that we will grow an education culture which protects the integrity of science and art subjects but also allows them to talk closely to each other. Each must understand the relevance of the other in order to allow that cross-over to take place which Jo Twist advocates. This imbalance has also dragged down design and technology, which should be a bridge between sciences and the arts, and which is another significant subject of relevance to the digital industries. However, in the past 10 years there has been a 50% fall in the number of students studying it at GCSE level.
Sciences and the arts must have parity as subjects within schools, and all performance measures must be reformed to reflect this. The Education Secretary is wrong—yet again—when she said this week that the EBacc, whose core subjects exclude arts but include a science,
“sets every child up for life”.
If any kind of education is to set up a child for life, if indeed one believes in such a thing, then it ought at the very least to be a rounded education.
Rohan Silva, who was involved in the early stages of the development of Tech City, made the case in the Evening Standard this week for a new campus in east London to service the new tech companies, like the one that is planned for New York. This is an interesting idea, but a trick is missed if it is only about computer science and engineering. If it were to happen, it should be a campus for computer science, engineering, art and design, with each getting equal billing. Then we really would have the edge. In some ways this would be no different to what I understand is now happening in China, where new art and design colleges are being located near to a town’s manufacturing centre.
The arts and culture sector of the creative industries is important in its own right, both for its commercial return but also, I think more importantly, for its inherent value and its contribution to the cultural economy. Because of their particular character the tech industries have needed tax breaks to get going, while the arts, through their very different character, often need public subsidies or public investment. I do not mind which term is used, but they need most particularly that core funding which enables day-to-day maintenance. That is the very money that is being denied to them, although the influx of additional Lottery money is of course welcome.
I have never understood the argument that the DCMS has had to do its share of cutting, perhaps because it is quite simply wrong. The Arts Council has said that £1 of public money invested in the arts will give a return of at least double that, because the multiplier effect is greater than for any other industry. The more the arts are funded, the more will be given back to the country. I am whole-heartedly anti-austerity, not just for the arts, and I believe that cuts to the arts should be reversed. It is curious that in Germany, which is the arch-architect of austerity, subsidies to the arts have continued to increase year by year. There has been none of this false heroism or this idea of the department doing its bit by cutting. This has happened in Germany for two reasons. First, Germany has a strong belief—it seems to be much stronger than we currently have here—in the democratic value of the arts, or in other words in its cultural economy. Secondly, people in Germany are aware of the degree to which the arts help their financial economy.
In the UK those who are suffering most are those on the front line: those artists, writers, musicians and theatre companies, for example, who now struggle to survive. They can less easily afford to produce new and innovative work which, within what should be a balanced ecology, feeds into the established commercial arts. Individual artists, writers and musicians, while themselves on decreasing incomes, are now more and more being asked to work for free. This is an unacceptable pressure.
In terms of the regions, we desperately need cuts to local authorities as well as to the Arts Council to be reversed. In the longer term, if real power is given to the regions—the idea of the northern powerhouse is a step in the right direction—and cities gain tax-raising powers, this would tremendously boost our creative industries. However, what worries me in the longer term are not just the cuts themselves—which are bad enough, and any further cuts of whatever size will be bad news—but the more deep-seated and possibly less easily reversible changes that are taking place.
I have always been a supporter of our museums, and I am glad that we have free admission to national museums in this country. They are great institutions with marvellous collections—which we own—which also put on exhibitions which are often wonderful. However, it is in the interests of our cultural economy that the dedicated staff of the National Gallery should be supported in their strikes against the privatisation of gallery staff. I support the reinstatement of Candy Udwin. Gabriele Finaldi should step in to ensure that staff are not privatised. Such privatisation would diminish the National Gallery as a public space, notwithstanding that this has already happened elsewhere, as the noble Baroness, Lady Wheatcroft, has pointed out previously. It is still a creeping privatisation of our national museums.
The other thing I want to say about the national museums is that the kind of issues that partnerships with Shell and BP have thrown up are not going to go away. That is the reality, whatever one may think, and there are respected artists among others who defend these sponsorships. I think it is worth future Governments bearing in mind that public funding is neutral and not tainted.
Yesterday morning, while sitting down to breakfast and listening to the “Today” programme, as quite a few of us do, I heard a discussion about the planned memorial for Philip Larkin in Poets’ Corner. “Who is Philip Larkin?” asked my 10 year-old daughter, which set off a discussion about whether Larkin would in fact have approved of such a thing as a memorial in Poets’ Corner. This is just one moment among millions across the country that the BBC enables. If there is one single entity which has had a massive influence or even the greatest influence throughout its existence on the creative economy, on the culture of this country, on literature, drama, poetry and music of all kinds and on the visual arts, then that entity is the BBC. It continues to have that influence to the good of the whole country in big and seemingly little ways. It has done so because of its unique structure, its set of ethics and its particular commitment to quality through its internal production teams. I hope very much that there is not a significant hollowing out of the corporation in that respect.
It is because of this ongoing contribution to our cultural economy in the broadest terms, for the good of all, that I think that the introduction of a German-style household broadcast levy is a good idea. A subscription fee would be the end of the BBC because it would destroy its essential universality. If, heaven forbid, we lost the BBC, we would have a much less diverse and significantly poorer broadcasting culture. I would also add that I suspect that television in its traditional format—in the home, as a big screen in the corner of the sitting room, however the programmes get to it—will be around longer than perhaps some people think. Watching television will remain for some—indeed, on certain occasions, for all—a communal experience. That is precisely why cinemas and concert-going have survived, in the face of earlier doubts about both.
Whereas one can have optimism for the creative industries in general, I fear for the arts, which are in danger of being subsumed into a wider grouping that is now being treated as essentially, if not wholly, commercial in character and which seem to be travelling in a BIS direction. I fear also for the existence of an arts or culture department that has traditionally and rightly been there to protect and develop a necessary cultural economy. If the arts are to survive and thrive, these trends must be reversed. That would be good for the rest of the creative industries, too.
My Lords, I also express my thanks to the noble Baroness, Lady Wheatcroft, for introducing this well-timed debate. It is not at all surprising that we have heard a great deal today about the extraordinary growth of the creative industries and their impact around the world, but it is by any standard a hugely impressive performance and it deserves our recognition. As we have heard, not only is it one of the most rapidly growing parts of the economy, it is also a global success story. It provides an enormous number of jobs and inspires and entertains millions of people.
Of course, it is a huge and varied sector that covers a wide variety of activities. My main contact with the creative industries has been in music and broadcasting. I was chairman of the Royal Academy of Music for more than 10 years and saw the extraordinary flow of talented students engaged in all types of music, almost all of whom go on to be employed in music or in the creative industries more widely. I was also chairman of the Monteverdi Trust, the funding arm of Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s world-class Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras, whose performances are wonderful. They will be on at Aldeburgh next weekend, I think, with two or three concerts. Sadly, their activity is disproportionately overseas because of financial necessity.
In broadcasting, I was an adviser to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport for the BBC charter review 10 years ago. As the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, reminded us, the BBC is one of the most cultural and creative organisations in the world. I have also been chairman of Channel 4 for more than five years. I declare that interest, although I do not intend to address it in much detail.
I begin by saying that in none of these activities was I involved with the creative output. Unlike the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, I neither played nor composed any music and unlike the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, I did not make or commission any television programmes. My role has been rather different. In the creative industries there is usually a need to balance at least two objectives: one is to produce great creative quality; the other is to ensure that the relevant creative organisation is financially stable. In my relationship with these organisations, I learnt at an early point that creative organisations that become overinfluenced by their financial objectives find the creative spirit being squeezed and success difficult to maintain. On the other hand, when those involved with the creative side try to escape the financial realities of life, problems emerge through a different and often more immediate route. With these organisations I have, by and large, played the role of trying to balance the objectives of creative success and financial stability in an uncertain and risky world. I would argue that one of the important aspects of the success of the creative industries in the United Kingdom is that they have managed this balancing act extremely well. Today, my focus is on what we can do to protect and sustain this success.
First, I think everyone who has spoken today has agreed that we must focus on how we nurture creative skills and performance among young people. I am in little doubt that that is achieved by giving the widest number of young people the opportunity to sample creative and cultural activities and to provide opportunities for those who demonstrate talent to take it on to the highest level. Talent inevitably lies in many unexpected places and we must give it the best opportunity to flourish. As many noble Lords have said, this has clear implications for schools and the opportunities that are made available outside school. The narrower the curriculum and the fewer the opportunities for young people to be exposed to these activities inside and outside school, the less chance there is of uncovering real talent. Certainly, as far as music is concerned, there are some worrying trends in that direction.
Secondly, one of the components of the UK’s success has been having a varied and competitive environment. It is very good that we have many outstanding music conservatoires, several great drama and dance schools and many world-class orchestras. Similarly, we have been very fortunate in having a competitive broadcasting ecology with public service broadcasting at its core, which offers enormous opportunities for making the high-quality television programmes that have been spoken about and supports the British film industry. Clearly, organisations that have demonstrated success should be encouraged, but plurality of providers gives the best opportunity for continuous innovation. We have been fortunate in this country in the way that the broadcasting industry has been organised.
I also stress the importance of the many talented people involved in the management, administration and technical tasks of all kinds of creative organisations, both large and small. The truly creative part of the creative industries is often merely the tip of the iceberg. None of it would get anywhere without the long chains of people who take these creative ideas to audiences and customers and present them in an attractive and enticing way. Above all they ensure that the creative organisations are managed efficiently. Creative organisations, like any other organisation, have to be efficient if they are to survive. When they need financial support they must be prepared to explain the basis on which that support is justified.
Clearly, there is a need to develop great performance skills, as well as the capacity to write new material and to curate new productions. That is true for both music and broadcasting. But by their nature many creative industries are risky and unpredictable. Success requires long time horizons, willingness to experiment and to innovate, and an ability to manage the risks involved. Above all, we must recognise that in the creative industries financial success is likely to be the result of creative success, rather than an ambition for financial success on its own.
As we have heard, because of those risks, there is a natural temptation for creative industries to look for security of finance. Often, this means turning to the Government. Of course, the Government must be an important player, as they are with many cultural and creative organisations. However—as a former Treasury official, noble Lords would expect me to say this—we should be cautious about asking them to do too much. In my experience, both music and broadcasting have been very fortunate to have multiple sources of revenue. The box office or its equivalent has to play its part and is often crucial to the long-term sustainability of an organisation. Often this is not enough, but we have been able to look to trusts, private benefactors and long-term private sector investors, as well as government support. That has been a very healthy part of the United Kingdom creative industries. It can be a great struggle, even for the most gifted of performers and even for those who excel on a worldwide stage, but I suspect that it will always be like that. The competing priorities for public money, and indeed for private money, are stark, as always.
Finally, we must never lose sight of the fact that our creative industries are competing in a global marketplace. This has huge advantages because, as in many other sectors, scale is very important in creative industries. The additional cost of multiple performances, DVDs or streaming of performances and programmes is very small relative to the initial investment. The opportunity to get back the R&D, including failures or rehearsal time, by playing to a worldwide audience is critical. At the same time, we must recognise that competing in a global marketplace also means that there are many overseas creative organisations standing ready to step into our domestic market and compete with domestic industries here. This is a ferociously competitive sector and we can never be complacent about our success. I am optimistic but, as we have heard, there could be many obstacles in the future.
In short, I support other noble Lords in arguing that we must cultivate our creative talent, and encourage the outstanding managers, administrative staff and technical experts who bring us so many great experiences and those who are willing to bring financial support and long-term support to the creative industries. It is an industry that can succeed only if we take a long-term approach.
My Lords, it is an exception that two hours seem to have flown by enormously quickly in this House today. This has been a very life-enhancing debate, and we have been blessed with some passionate speeches from a great number of noble Lords who are immersed in the worlds of the arts and creativity. I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Wheatcroft, for having instituted the debate and for her superb opening. I could emulate the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, by saying that I agree with everything that everybody has said during the course of the debate and sit down, but of course I have no intention of doing that and will put my own gloss on the proceedings. The only question, really, is how Hansard will report on the introduction from the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley. I do not know whether they will put something in square brackets that says “[Opening bars of Beethoven’s Ninth]” or something like that—it will be a challenge, I suspect, but one which Hansard will be well up to meeting.
This has been a celebration, as the noble Baroness, Lady Wheatcroft, described it. However, of course, one of the persistent themes of this debate has been the need not to rest on our laurels but to nurture all those different elements, whether they be intellectual property, skills, education, finance or broad creative impulse, across the board. I will go through some of those elements, but I think that one of the most important factors to come up in this debate is that we are united on the fact that this is not purely about economics; it is about the pleasure that the arts and creative industries deliver and the importance of creativity for its own sake.
I was very much taken by the quotation from the noble Baroness, Lady Kidron, when she talked about “the vast time in between”. I thought about filling in the gaps by talking about the vast time in between House of Lords debates on the creative industries. However, perhaps we are filling it with proper arts and culture ourselves.
During the last Government, significant policies benefiting the creative industries were developed. Just a few of these include the setting up of the Creative Industries Council—and the resulting Create UK action plan—established at the beginning of the last Parliament, which has the DCMS Secretary of State and the BIS Secretary of State sitting on it. We on these Benches think that the Secretary of State for Education should also be involved in that process, for reasons which many noble Lords have enunciated during the course of the debate. As the noble Lord, Lord Haskel, emphasised, we take a very broad view of the definition of creativity. We believe that the nurturing of creativity should be taken in that spirit right across the tech and creative industries.
The noble Baroness, Lady Wheatcroft, mentioned the tax reliefs that have been so important for all the various sides of the industry—not just the film tax credit, but also high-end television, animation, orchestra, regional theatre and other tax reliefs.
A great many noble Lords talked about the linkages between sciences and the arts, starting with my noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter. So many of the creative industries are interconnected and have great economic impact on each other. The CEBR report for the Arts Council last year demonstrated that the creative talent in arts and culture plays an important role in supporting commercial creative industries. The Arts Council itself plays an important role in supporting apprenticeships.
The noble Baroness, Lady Kidron, and the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, talked about the importance of public financial support. I entirely agree that we should not regard this as subsidy; it is an investment in the future and in creativity. I agree with my noble friend that we should ensure that local authorities publish what they are spending on the arts in their areas. I was very much taken by what the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd-Webber, had to say about the successful productions in New York and the fact that five out of eight had received public funding because they were National or RSC productions. That is a very important point.
We heard from the noble Lord, Lord Haskel, the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, and my noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter that in the digital economy there is increasing convergence—symbiosis, really—between platform and content, between the tech sector and the creative industries and the skills that are needed in those sectors.
There is cross-over with tourism, too. The noble Baroness, Lady Wheatcroft, talked about the galleries, museums and theatres that attract tourists: the Tate, the National Gallery, the British Museum and so on. The recent UK Music report Wish You Were Here reveals the fact that the number of music tourists in the UK has increased by 34% between 2011 and 2014. That is a very important sector as well. The noble Lord, Lord Haskel, described the importance of the Aldeburgh Festival. BALPPA members assert the increasing importance of UK creative content and licensing for attractions.
We want to see creative businesses continue to thrive across the country, not just in London, so that our economy can continue to reap the benefits. It is vital that we nurture that. Clustering is of great importance. We have seen how clusters have arisen over the last few years, often specialising in a number of discrete areas, such as Brighton’s Silicon Beach for video games or special effects in Dundee. I declare an interest as a Barbican trustee, and I have a particular interest in the City’s culture cluster. Like the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, whom I am delighted to see is so supportive, I am very keen to see a world-class music centre in London and I very much hope that that feasibility study comes to a good conclusion. With my antecedents in Kendal, I was delighted by what the noble Lords, Lord Bragg and Lord Inglewood, had to say about the importance of the investment in Kendal.
There are so many sectors that we could cover today and many noble Lords have covered them, but by exception we have not mentioned publishing. That is another great international success. It is a £4 billion industry in a whole range of genres, including teaching materials. I am concerned about the future of some of our authors. The median income of our authors has been falling over the years, with the rise of the digital economy. One of the areas where I would like to see movement is the law of unfair contracts which currently is not able to govern their contracts because it does not cover intellectual property.
We have had a wonderful description of the power and value of music—and also a reference to Lionel Richie, although whether the two can be taken together I am not sure—from the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley. I was very inspired by that. The music sector is another sector of huge importance to us. We are the second largest exporter of music after the United States. We have heard about the setting up of music hubs, which is a very important development. Our live grass-roots music venues are under threat due to perverse planning consents. That is a matter of concern because they are the seedcorn of our music industry. I would like to see action taken on, and reform of, some of our planning legislation for that very reason. We heard from the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd-Webber, on the whole issue of the fabric of our theatres, which is a matter of considerable concern.
Many noble Lords talked about broadcasting—the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, the noble Viscount, Lord Colville, the noble Lords, Lord Bragg and Lord Haskel, and my noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter—and particularly the role of the BBC, the coming charter and the importance of the BBC in the whole creative landscape. The BBC has a massive role in this area and we must make sure that any changes made to the charter, whether they involve freezing the licence fee or decriminalising its non-payment, protect the future of the BBC.
I entirely agree about the future of linear TV. It is by no means dead and our public service broadcasters have a continuing role to play. In that context the future of Channel 4 is extremely important. It has a unique and important role. It describes itself in its annual report as a “creative greenhouse”. In some respects that probably undersells its role. The success of Film4, for instance, is legendary. I need only mention “Mr Turner” and “12 Years a Slave”. That channel is engaging with younger audiences, increasingly via the internet, and plays a very important role in that respect. The multichannel sector should not be forgotten either. The scale of its investment is growing and is also extremely important. The noble Viscount, Lord Colville, mentioned the “must carry” aspects, which are very important. We need to get rid of some of the trammels on our public service broadcasters in that respect.
Many noble Lords talked about the overseas markets. I have a particular interest in China, and the film co-production treaty with China that the BFI has led. I was delighted to see that Amanda Nevill was awarded a CBE in the Birthday Honours List for all her work with the BFI, and Pinewood is not only investing in the UK but also entering into joint ventures with major Chinese companies, which is terrific.
Education is one of the themes that came through very powerfully in the debate. I entirely agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Kidron, when she said that the supply chain is only as good as the weakest link. Many of us are very concerned about the EBacc and the fact that we do not have STEAM but still have STEM. We really must get to grips with this over the coming years. There should be no disjunct between technical and creative skills and between the sciences and the arts. We need to make sure that the core subjects cover both; otherwise, we will not equip ourselves for the new age. As my noble friend said, we need to implement the findings of Darren Henley’s review.
There are many other areas of great concern. The noble Lord, Lord Lloyd-Webber, talked about access to stage school and the noble Baroness, Lady Kidron, talked about disincentives to study the arts and humanities at universities. However, we must keep the “steam” up on apprenticeships, which are extremely important.
I will not deal with incentives and finance. The noble Lord, Lord Burns, had it spot on when he talked about balancing creative success with financial stability. A number of initiatives were taken by the previous Government and I very much hope that we will build on them.
I will be uncharacteristically brief in talking about intellectual property, which involves many big issues. The biggest problem coming down the road concerns the EU’s digital European economy proposals to make it impossible to split licensing by territory. That could have a fundamental effect on the financing of creative properties and I hope that the Government have taken that on board. I have always felt that you should have a mixture of education and enforcement. That is very important. Education is important but I hope that the Government will continue their work on enforcement. I look forward to hearing what the Minister has to say.
My Lords, I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Wheatcroft, on securing this debate and draw the attention of the House to the fact that I work for a public service broadcaster— Channel 4.
A generation ago, in 1998, the Labour Government defined the creative industries as comprising any business with the potential to generate,
“wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property”.
It seems strange now that, in the fairly recent past, the Blair Government became the first in the world to recognise the creative industries as an industrial sector in their own right. The Creative Industries Mapping Document published by former Secretary of State, Chris Smith—now the noble Lord, Lord Smith—set out for the first time to measure and map the impact of the creative industries on the rest of the economy. He wrote in the foreword to the document:
“The most successful economies and societies in the twenty-first century will be creative ones. Creativity will make the difference—to businesses seeking a competitive edge, to societies looking for new ways to … improve the quality of life. This offers the UK enormous opportunities. We have a well-deserved reputation for creativity; we can draw on both a strong historical base and vibrant contemporary developments”.
It is worth touching on the historical base that the noble Lord, Lord Smith, mentioned because it puts the future potential of our creative industries in context. It is incredible to recall that, at its height, the British Empire was the largest ever in history and held sway over one-fifth of the world’s population. The BBC Empire Service began in 1932 and is today, of course, known as the BBC World Service. The global footprint of the World Service is the widest reaching of any broadcaster or country and it is the most trusted news source in the world. The BBC news reaches more than 230 million weekly users. If you add our news to our other intellectual property exports—music, film, TV, games, digital content, publishing, architecture and so on—it is clear that Britain has done something truly remarkable. We have lost an empire but won the battle for global cultural pre-eminence. That pre-eminence now showers us with revenue and is the real venture capital of our economy.
As John Woodward wrote in his excellent review of the creative industries, published recently in March,
“the UK has risen to become the pre-eminent global hub and talent magnet for investors seeking creativity, innovation, world-class skills and cutting-edge engagement with the new digitally-led creative economy”.
One of the purposes of this debate, and what noble Lords have done in it, is to ask: how did this happen and how we can ensure that it continues to happen? Tellingly, Mr Woodward’s explanation of how it happened is:
“Over the past 40 years a combination of natural talent, education, training, and crucially, the provision of state-funded access to a broad range of cultural activity, have all contributed to the UK becoming a global powerhouse for the creative industries”,
“the recent public spending cuts to arts bodies and to regional economic support structures now risk eroding the national DNA that originally propelled the UK to the top of the global creativity league”.
If we want to secure our future, we must secure our creative industries. As my noble friend Lord Bragg said, this calls for enlightenment from the centre. I liked his comments on repetition, such as:
“A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!”.
A couple of us have requoted this. I like a bit of repetition as much as anyone else but there are too many arts organisations crying, “A grant! a grant! my kingdom for a grant!”. Our kingdom’s cultural hegemony was built on state-funded access to a multiplicity of cultural goods but the scale of cuts to state-funded arts projects and institutions now risks critically undermining not just our collective creativity, our creative industries and our cultural heritage but the life-blood of Britain’s economy. That is why this debate is so important, and why it is so important that we see clearly the risks ahead.
What are the risks? The first is that we do not protect our PSBs and the extraordinarily innovative yet fragile creative ecology that they have spawned. Virtually every Peer speaking today has referred to our creative infrastructure. Secondly, there is the risk that through excessive funding cuts, as I have said, we fatally undermine access to arts and culture for all British kids, not just a lucky few. This was articulated by the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, the noble Baroness, Lady Kidron, my noble friends Lord Haskel and Lord Bragg and many others. Third, there is an enormous risk that our education system does not do enough to promote creativity, as was outlined by the noble Baronesses, Lady Bonham-Carter, Lady Kidron and Lady Wheatcroft, and by the noble Lords, Lord Burns and Lord Clement-Jones, and others. Fourthly, there is the risk that we do not secure the digital economy or its infrastructure adequately, for example in broadband.
The fifth risk is that the creative economy is limited to London and the south-east, and that we fail to introduce the regional structures required to hardwire creativity throughout Britain. We have not touched on that enough in this debate but I am sure we would all agree that we need to pursue that incredibly important strategy. Sixthly, there is the risk that we fail to respond adequately to regulatory challenges as they emerge, particularly those that require a constructive relationship with the EU. Seventhly, and following on from that, we need our IP regime to promote innovation and not stifle it, as the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, mentioned. I encourage the Government to think harder about how we effect that difficult balance between the incentive to innovate and ensuring that we have appropriate returns from copyright. There will be instances, and the digital world throws up many of them, where the current situation is not as we would wish it to be.
Eighthly, there is diversity, which I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, for raising. I should flag up that, as I mentioned at the beginning, I am a diversity executive for the broadcaster Channel 4. It was really instructive of the noble Baroness to have highlighted the role that Lenny Henry has played and the link with talent. Let us remember that this is about talent. Lenny Henry highlighted the fact that BAME talent has left, or been pushed out of, the television industry. Too often, people greet the diversity initiatives that are set up to deal with this sort of issue by whispering complaints—let me be blunt here—that they are just about getting black people jobs, that they lower the bar, that they undermine meritocracy and that they prevent the best person getting the job. So let me put the record straight and explain why intelligent diversity strategies grow our talent pool and our economy.
I will do this by way of an example that I never tire of repeating—please forgive me, those who have heard me say this before. It relates to the legendary former head of Film4, Tessa Ross, who was a great advocate for diversity. She was concerned that, despite Channel 4 having a remit to push diversity and find hidden talent, she could not find any black film directors. Tessa looked and looked. She asked her people to look. The cry went out across the land: “Black film directors—where are they?”. The response came, “Oh no, there aren’t any. Well, there aren’t any of note”. You know how it is: you want to employ black people and women and disabled people and working-class white boys from Scunthorpe, but you just cannot find any who have the right experience or the right qualifications. It is even a bit like this round here in the House of Lords, isn’t it? How else do you explain that 77% of the Lords are men? Obviously we do not discriminate against women, and we are not in favour of men over women. It’s just that women are not as experienced as men, or they have not risen up through the ranks, or they are not the experts in their field, or they cry in the lab. You know how it is. Honestly, what a load of nonsense.
Back to the head of Film4 searching for a black film director—she knew there must be black people out there who had the talent to be film directors but just had not had the opportunity. She decided to widen the recruitment field, to change the qualifications required. I say to any person in any industry, in any business: if you want to improve things, do that. Widen your recruitment base. She turned to somebody who had no experience as a film director. He was a visual artist. As we all know, Steve McQueen did not get the Oscar for best film due to political correctness. He got it because he is one of the most talented film directors in the world, because Channel 4 had an innovative approach to diversity and because Channel 4 had—and has—a strategy to go out and find the talent without qualifications, rather than let that talent be lost for ever.
The TV industry is currently working hard to promote diversity, and the Creative Diversity Network, which I work with, has done just that. I know that the Minister in the other place is well acquainted with the issues that the Creative Diversity Network is pursuing, so I ask the Minister: what will the Government do to spread the best practice identified by the Creative Diversity Network for the TV and film industries further afield to related creative fields such as radio, the music industry, publishing and theatre?
While I am on the subject of diversity, it is imperative to point out the huge diversity of the creative industries themselves. We have heard about fashion design, architecture, film, video, special effects, software, music, publishing, theatre, TV, tourism —the list goes on and on. Yes, these are disparate fields, but, as the Creative Industries Mapping Document pointed out all those years ago for the first time, these are the areas that make up the knowledge economy on which our future rests.
I end by turning to the BBC. As so many have pointed out, the BBC goes to the very heart of what it is to be British. I have already quoted my noble friend Lord Bragg, who said in this Chamber:
“The BBC is not so much the family silver as the family itself”.—[Official Report, 3/6/15; col. 432.]
I will be frank. Many are worried that the Government want, with ideological zeal, to cut the BBC down to size, to something far less than it is at the moment. I am sure many of us will urge the Government not to use the BBC’s charter renewal as an inadvertent exercise in cultural vandalism. I quote an article that said:
“Proverbially, when the bombs rain down, the captain of the last nuclear submarine will judge Britain ended when Radio 4 ceases to sound”.
The cultural industries have given Britain a sense of itself, and none more so than the BBC. Those industries will protect our future and, as such, they could hardly make a greater contribution to the United Kingdom’s economy.
My Lords, I join other noble Lords in thanking my noble friend for securing this debate, and I thank all noble Lords for their contributions in this very far-reaching debate on the creative industries.
The interest shown this afternoon is a testament to the essential role played by our creative industries in our national life. As my noble friend Lady Wheatcroft said in her opening remarks, and as many other noble Lords have said, the official figures published in January confirmed the leading role played by the creative industries in our economic recovery. The sector contributed £76.9 billion to the UK economy in 2013, 5% of the total UK economy. The year-on-year growth, from 2012 to 2013, was a staggering 9.9%, three times that of the economy as a whole, and higher than for any other Blue Book sector. In that year, the sector accounted for 171,000 more jobs, 5.6% of total UK jobs, and a 1.4% increase on the previous year. Over the longer term, there has been a 3.9% rise in the number of jobs in the creative industries each year between 1997 and 2013, compared with 0.6% in the UK economy as a whole.
The noble Lord, Lord Haskel, mentioned having to define the creative industries in his speech, and the noble Baroness, Lady King of Bow, also read out a long list of creative industries. It is very difficult to compare the creative industries as I understand it, and I shall have to write to the noble Lord, Lord Haskel, on that issue.
The sector is also leading the way on exports. The value of services exported by the creative industries in 2012 was £17.3 billion, which is 8.8% of total UK service exports, and an incredible increase of 11.3% over 2011, compared with 2.8% for total UK service exports. As with the sector’s domestic performance, creative industries’ exports are playing a key role in our export drive. While the sector is showing impressive growth here in the UK, however, we do not exist in isolation, and cannot be complacent. Our global competitors are working hard, too. The Government are fully committed to helping the sector as it implements its strategy to maintain its global competitiveness, including through allowing the use of the Treasury building for the filming of the latest Bond film, as my noble friend Lady Wheatcroft said.
Over the past five years, the Government have showed their commitment to the sector through setting up the Creative Industries Council, as the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, said. It will provide a strategic focus for industry and government. We also put in place a range of generic and sector-specific financing and fiscal measures, such as the creative content tax reliefs, as noble Lords have said. The film tax relief alone has generated over £7.8 billion of production spend in the UK, supporting over 1,200 films. We have expanded the original scope of the tax reliefs to cover the high-end TV, animation, video games, children’s TV and commercial theatre production sectors, with a new relief for orchestras due to come into force next year. We provide funding for agencies such as Arts Council England, the British Film Institute, Creative England and Innovate UK to invest in and support the creative industries. Arts Council England invested £1.4 billion of public money in arts organisations and cultural programmes between 2011 and 2015, and the BFI is investing nearly £500 million between 2012 and 2017 to help the film industry grow, build audiences and stimulate a vibrant film culture in the UK. Through the British Business Bank established by the Government, creative businesses have received more than £80 million of equity finance since May 2010, and through UKTI, in the financial year 2014-15 the Government have helped provide export support to around 13,000 creative companies, one-quarter of all companies assisted by UKTI, and delivered £467 million-worth of business wins.
On the education and skills front, we have supported the sector with over £400 million in our music and cultural education programmes, with a further £109 million available in 2015-16; £20 million co-investment funding in Channel 4/Creative Skillset’s industrial partnership; our co-investment in Creative Skillset’s skills investment fund, including a further £2 million each year in 2015-16 and 2016-17; and a new curriculum for IT in schools. Our £1.7 billion public investment in broadband infrastructure, as mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Haskel, will greatly help creative businesses to set up in the regions and enable them to reach new customers around the UK and the globe. We are also committed to a fair and robust IP enforcement regime, touched on by the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, with funding for the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit up to 2017, backed up by a strong programme of consumer education, including £3.5 million for an education campaign to run alongside Creative Content UK.
As my noble friend Lady Wheatcroft said, we intend to build on this solid programme of support over the next five years. Our manifesto gave commitments to continue the existing creative content tax reliefs and expand them when possible; to back plans for the Factory in Manchester and a modern world-class concert hall for London; to continue to require ISPs to block sites that carry large amounts of illegal content; to build on progress made under voluntary anti-piracy projects to warn internet users when they breach copyright; and, through our review of the BBC’s royal charter, to recognise the important role played by the corporation in supporting our creative industries.
A number of noble Lords raised the issue of IP in relation to the digital single market. Last month, the European Commission published its strategy for developing the digital single market. This will involve some reform of the EU copyright framework with legislation expected at the end of the year. The Commission’s strategy document is at a high level and, of course, the detail will be all important. It is proposing not a full rewrite of the entire framework but targeted harmonisation measures that will still be of significant impact. Among these are measures to make it easier for businesses to provide portable services that people can access when they are travelling or on holiday and for people to buy copyright content across borders; to harmonise rules on the use of copyright material for specific purposes, such as research; and to clarify the rules on intermediaries using copyright content to ensure there is a level playing field. Proposals will also be made to modernise copyright enforcement focusing on commercial-scale infringement. In July last year, the European Commission announced a new action plan to tackle IP infringement. We fully support the plan. It provides a good mix of voluntary initiatives and awareness-raising activities and focuses on tackling commercial-scale infringement which causes the most harm to our economies. The digital single market package overall represents an important and timely opportunity to ensure that Europe is in the best possible position to take advantage of the digital revolution.
The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, mentioned the importance of safeguarding IP. The Government recognise the challenges and importance of safeguarding intellectual property here and abroad. It is essential that rights can be enforced effectively, and we are taking a range of actions to address this. As I mentioned, in September 2013 we launched an online IP crime unit dedicated to tackling serious and organised online piracy and counterfeiting and protecting legitimate UK businesses. The unit has so far made 52 arrests and has also diverted more than 11 million views from copyright-infringing websites to an official police warning page since July last year.
Overseas IP regimes can be difficult for businesses to navigate and successfully enforce, so we provide specialist IP attachés to help UK businesses in some of the more important and challenging international markets: China, India, Brazil and south-east Asia. During a visit to China in 2014, the UK facilitated a landmark agreement between the China-Britain Business Council and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba that will help address the tens of millions of pounds lost to Chinese counterfeiting and piracy via the online platform each year. In June last year, the Government and the European Commission hosted the inaugural international IP enforcement summit in London, with great success. It was attended by experts from Governments, enforcement authorities and multinational businesses around the world. The summit discussions clearly demonstrated the unremitting desire of all those who attended to work together to overcome the challenges that we face around the world in tackling IP crime, whether by reducing the flow of funds to criminals, better customs enforcement at external borders or ensuring that IP rights work in the interest of employment and economic growth.
Several noble Lords mentioned issues relating to the status of the arts and education, and I will deal individually with as many of those as I can in the time that I have left. The Government have created a number of new programmes that give children the enriching experiences they need at a young age, such as music education hubs, a national youth dance company and the British Film Institute Film Academy. Such programmes develop the creative thinking that is powering the UK’s world-beating creative industries and spark a love of the arts that can last a lifetime.
My noble friend Lady Wheatcroft mentioned the supplier recognition scheme in relation to the Olympic site. The SRS is a first for the Olympic movement; it is the first time that the IOC has allowed such a scheme. More than 780 companies have benefited under the scheme. Some categories of companies, which my noble friend mentioned, were excluded from the scheme, but I am afraid that there is no scope for changing those categories. They are not dictated by the Government but relate to contracts between the IOC and the major international companies.
My noble friend also mentioned the difficulty for creative SMEs in the export environment. UKTI provides tremendous support for creative businesses. Some 13,000 creative companies were helped in 2014-15—a quarter of all companies helped—and some £467 million of business was secured. UKTI set up a sector advisory group to gather creative industries together to advise it on prioritising export markets and exploiting inward investment opportunities.
My noble friend also mentioned cultural education, which concerned a number of noble Lords. As part of the Government’s plan for education, all pupils will experience a broad and balanced curriculum. The arts are a key part of this. Art and design and music are compulsory for five to 14 year-olds. In 2015-16, the Government will provide more than £109 million to support art and cultural education projects, an increase of £17 million from last year.
The noble Lord, Lord Bragg, mentioned his concern about the cuts in funding for the arts and creative industries, as did many other noble Lords. We absolutely recognise the intrinsic social and economic value of the arts to people of all backgrounds. Nevertheless, we all need to play our part in contributing to government savings—I know that the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, and I will not have a meeting of minds on this issue. We are working with arts organisations to ensure that they have a broad funding base that incorporates public and private funding.
The noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, mentioned the need for more links between creative businesses and schools, and with careers advice, which I think the noble Viscount also mentioned. We agree that liaison between industry and education is important and welcome the recommendations in the Create UK strategy, which has been developed by industry members of the Creative Industries Council. This includes extending the role of the National Careers Service last year, which should help with the work. The new Careers and Enterprise Company will also strengthen links between employers and schools.
The noble Baroness also mentioned her diversity round table with the Minister in the department. The Minister for Culture, Media and Sport has taken an active interest in this issue, and I will speak to him about his plans to continue this group.
The noble Baroness also mentioned STEAM, not STEM. I realise that this area has concerned a number of noble Lords. The Government are strongly committed to arts and STEM subjects. Young people should have the opportunity to study arts subjects alongside an academic curriculum. Between 2012 and 2014, the number of pupils taking music and art and design GCSEs rose by 4% and 7.5% respectively.
The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, mentioned the new London concert hall, which was also mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones. The Government and the GLA are jointly funding a feasibility study into the case for a new concert hall for London. The study will examine how the hall might be funded.
My noble friend Lord Lloyd-Webber mentioned equality of opportunity in arts training. The organisations in the Arts Council’s 2015 to 2018 portfolio have committed to ensuring that their workforces are diverse. The creative employment programme will continue to offer the opportunity for paid internships in cultural organisations so that young people have a fair chance at opportunities, regardless of background.
The noble Viscount asked whether Netflix and similar services should be covered by rules to ensure fair payment for creators. Services such as Netflix and Spotify are very popular and have done much to encourage the lawful use of creative content on the internet, but the way these firms pay creators and copyright owners is highly debated, as I am sure he is aware. The European Commission has said that it will consider fair remuneration for creators in its review of EU copyright. The Government look forward to hearing the Commission’s proposals on the digital single market. The noble Viscount also mentioned the importance of SMEs and start-ups, and I could not agree more with what he said.
Time has caught up with me. I have not been able to answer a number of questions, for which I apologise, but I will write to noble Lords and place copies in the Library.
The Government are committed to continuing to support the UK’s creative industries at home and abroad. The UK’s creative industries are tremendous ambassadors for the wealth of creativity that exists on these islands. From One Direction to 007, from Sam Smith to Stella McCartney, “Game of Thrones” to Grayson Perry, these icons are known all over the world, and that is what makes Britain’s creative talent known and loved around the world. The Government are committed to helping the creative industries to make sure that they continue to be the envy of the world.
My Lords, I thank my noble friend the Minister for his response, which was detailed and positive. I also thank all noble Lords who have taken part in the debate this afternoon. It has been upbeat, with fascinating speeches from all sides of the House, and it has demonstrated that it is wrong to think that you have to be Labour to be a luvvie. It has been a positive debate. I had hoped for a celebration and it has very much been a celebration, with a few qualms as well. I thank noble Lords again and I beg to move.
House adjourned at 4.18 pm.