This evening I gave my first speech as Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to the Creative Coalition Campaign.
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Thank you to the Creative Coalition Campaign and to Equity for giving me my first opportunity in my new role as Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to set out the importance we attach to the creative industries and our vision for how they should be supported for the future.
I know you had a close working relationship with my predecessor in this role, Ivan Lewis and his team and I hope that we can build on that with my team – Helen Goodman, doing media, Dan Jarvis, doing arts and creative industries and Clive Efford doing sport
The importance of culture, media and sports
Culture, media and sports are part of the very fabric of our society. It’s what people miss when they go abroad – watching the News at 10, going to the football, our free national museums and galleries, and the local library just down the road.
From Harry Potter to Adele to Damien Hirst.
Films seen worldwide.
British writers read around the world.
British artists and designers loved around the world.
British Music listened to around the world.
The Olympics - bringing tourists from all around the world.
This defines us around the world as well as at home
The DCMS portfolio is about the role of public policy in nurturing and supporting these sectors,
....for the economy
But it’s not just about emotional attachment. The creative industries are a key part of our economy and so must be at the centre of any plan for jobs and growth. Most people don’t realise this but the evidence is clear -
- The creative economy has grown faster than any other sector: - accounting for around 2 million jobs
- It accounts for economic output of at least £60 billion per annum - more than 8 percent of UK GDP
- the UK creative industries are set to grow - at double the rate of any other sector
- They accounted for £17.3 billion of exports. The second biggest global exporter after US.
….for the Regions
One of the great things that we’ve seen over the past decade is the renaissance of our cities. Whether it’s the Salford Media City, the Baltic Centre, or Tate Liverpool, the arts and creative industries have been central to our great cities developing their modern identity.
And not just our big cities – our seaside towns too. In Margate - the Turner Contemporary arts centre. In Folkestone - the “creative quarter”. In Crosby - Anthony Gormley’s the ‘Other Place’.
And in London – the creative landscape is far wider than the world-famous museums, galleries and theatres. In my own constituency of Camberwell and Peckham there are prolific and diverse cultural identities with the students of the Camberwell School of Art, artists, graphic designers, and masses of local media and music.
Opportunity and access is important as a matter of principle. Everyone should be entitled to achieve their creative potential. The creative industries have been – and must be even more so – an avenue for opportunities for everyone.
But opportunity is not only right in principle, it is also necessary. To thrive, arts and creativity need to be fed by people from all backgrounds – not just the few whose parents can pay for it.
Creativity needs talent from the widest possible pool.
…………for our democracy
Our media is not only an important export and contributor to our culture – it is an essential part of our democracy, a forum for free speech and debate and for holding the authorities to account. And I hope after the Leveson inquiry it will be doing a better job at that.
………for its own sake
What can be measured is the contribution the creative industries make to our economy and to opportunity. Dan Jarvis is working on this – the Jarvis index.
But, art and creativity is important for its own sake, for what can never be measured or given a monetary value but which uplifts individuals, communities and society.
And Sporting achievement for its own sake – for what can never be measured but creates excitement and pride.
Labour government’s legacy
The Labour government passionately believed this – creating the new Ministry of DCMS under Chris Smith and promoting an environment in which our arts and creative industries flourished. A golden decade.
- Increasing public investment in the arts by 90%
- Introducing free access to national museums and art galleries which saw the number of visitors almost doubling
- Investment in regional theatre, regional museums and regional galleries- which saw audiences at those theatres grow by 40 percent and 750,000 new visitors to our regional museums and galleries.
- Creating the UK Film Council to rejuvenate film making in the UK. The film tax credit which helped Harry Potter to be made in the UK rather than somewhere else
- Investing in cultural activities and education for young people, free theatre tickets for the under 26s and the commitment that every child would have the chance to do 5 hours of cultural activities a week
Can’t afford not to support it
To those who say –‘that was all very well then but now with the economic crisis, its not the time to be bothering about the creative industries’ – we say, because of the role of culture and the arts in the wellbeing of people and communities, it’s essential to support them at this crucial time - not an optional extra.
The creative industries are going to be a key route out of economic difficulty.
The Secretary of State should be the Minister of Growth as well as the Minister of Fun. But at the moment he’s just the Minister of Talk.
And we need more than that
Role of public policy
DCMS has responsibility for a major public policy imperative – to set the framework and ensure investment.
On the framework, digitalisation has completely revolutionised the creative industries – rewriting the music industry’s business model and changing the face of publishing. (e-books outsell print books in USA)
Labour met this challenge to the creative industries with the introduction of the Digital Economy Act. But this government is dragging its feet on its implementation and have taken away the teeth and replaced them with empty words.
We, like you, see digitalisation not as a challenge but an opportunity for Britain to strengthen our world lead in the creative industries. The challenge is to find ways to protect the value of your work – and that’s a job for government.
You know that without public policy some problems – like IP enforcement – will never be sorted by the market.