The creative industries are one of the UK’s greatest success stories, contributing over £87 billion to the economy. We have been working with the creative industries to understand the impacts and opportunities presented by our decision to leave the EU.
The Secretary of State will understand that new technologies are fuelling economic growth in our country, and nowhere more so than in Manchester—home to the world’s first computer and the new wonder-material graphene. Manchester is an international city that was built on the work of people from all countries, as exemplified today by an international student population of 20,000. What is the Secretary of State doing to ensure that Brexit does not create new borders that will separate a community that thrives when there are no physical, language or cultural barriers, just like-minded innovators?
I agree that Manchester is a fantastic, creative, innovative and diverse city. I am sure the hon. Gentleman will join me in welcoming, for example, the Factory project, in which £78 million is being spent on regenerating the old Granada studios into an amazing creative space and hub. He will also welcome the fact that yesterday the Government announced a doubling of the number of tier 1 visas available for highly skilled—the brightest and best—creative and tech people. He will also join me in welcoming the fact that the success of Tech North, a Manchester success story, will now be expanded across the whole UK through Tech Nation.
My hon. Friend is right. Clearly there are challenges, but there are great opportunities. These are global industries that have operated outside the 27 member states of the European Union forever. They are a great British success story, and I am determined to make that continue.