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Brexit (Creative Industries)

Volume 638: debated on Thursday 29 March 2018

2. If he will hold discussions with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and representatives of the creative industries on trade in that sector with EU countries after the UK leaves the EU. [R] (904656)

Yesterday the Government announced the creative industries sector deal. With a strategy and new money committed to boost our creative industries, trade and investment is a key part of that deal. Exports are booming in the sector, with £9.6 billion in services and £2.7 billion in goods in 2015, making this country a global leader.

I refer the House to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.

I thank the Minister for his answer, but the clock is ticking. Representatives of the live performance part of the creative industries tell me of their worries, based on current experience of touring theatre, dance and music outside the EU. Will he, like the DCMS Minister, the hon. Member for Stourbridge (Margot James), agree to meet representatives of the creative industries to discuss those significant challenges so that this massive growth sector of our economy can continue post-Brexit?

My colleagues and I are always happy to meet representatives of the sector. The sector’s export growth, and its activity both in the European Union and beyond, is actually growing. Only 34% of the sector’s total global exports are to the EU. A huge amount is already being done outside the EU and, when it comes to things like music, DIT has committed to make about £3 million of grant support available to help music small and medium-sized enterprises to be able to export up to 2020.

One of the biggest growth markets is in the film and creative industries: one of the biggest areas now, apart from Hollywood, is Bollywood in India. What relations has my right hon. Friend established to build that market up so that we can exploit opportunities with our good friends from India?

My hon. Friend, who has impeccable trade connections with India, makes a strong point. Film, TV and broadcasting as a sector in the UK grew by 6.6% last year, and a large part of that is in co-operation with India. Total spend in the UK on film production reached a 20-year high, and global UK-qualifying films enjoyed 21% of global box office success, including a lot of success in India.

British audiovisual exports are worth £7.4 billion a year, with more than £3 billion of that coming from trade with the EU. The industry has raised major concerns that its ability to export into the European market will be undermined, unless there is frictionless access for broadcasters and creative industries. Will the Minister reassure the sector and the House that this will be the case—or is this yet another area where the Government are failing to listen to British businesses?

I will take no lectures from the hon. Lady on listening to British businesses, on which this Government have an impeccable record. We are seeking frictionless trade—as frictionless as possible—with the EU. We are seeking a free trade agreement of much greater scope than any before, and it will cover services—including creative industries, which are such a key part of our export offer.