Ministers vow to fight for cultural industries
The business and culture secretaries joined with London’s Labour mayor in pledging to battle on behalf of the cultural industries last night as they acknowledged the sector was the fastest growing in the UK economy – although, they were told, educational pull-backs could cause it serious harm.
Speaking at the second anniversary celebrations for the Cultural Industries Federation, culture secretary Karen Bradley said the industries contributed £87.4 billion to the economy in gross value added and £19.8 billion in export of services. She said “the creative industries are and will be at the heart of this government’s work opn industrial strategy”, and that the sector was the nation’s “soft power. “I want to reassure you that I, Greg [Clark, the business secretary], the Prime Minister and others, do understand just how important our industries are to the UK economy and we are going to do everything we can to give you the tools you need to continue with the amazing success you have demonstrated”.
Greg Clark reiterated her remarks. “You make Britain what we are but you also tell the world what Britain can do” he said. “We’re developing an industrial strategy for the UK and any good strategy of course has to build on its strengths. You couldn’t fail to (know that) the creative industries as absolutely foundational to that industrial strategy. You will see that you have a big part to play in that” he said.
Mayor of London promised to champion the cultural industries in Brexit negotiations. “Almost half of your exports go to the EU: he said. “It’s unsurprising that retaining access to the single market is a priority for you. So I pledge today, I’ll stand with you every step of the way. I’ll work to ensure your concerns are addressed by our government and your interests defended during the upcoming Brexit negotiations.
Sir John Sorrell, who is to stand down as CIF chair this year, said that in spite of the sector’s success it’s Achilles heel was the government’s e3ducation policy. “For a very long time now, we have enjoyed creative education in all sorts of ways - design, music, art” he said. “And it’s disappearing. We all know that and everyone here is worried about it. So we worry about Brexit and we’re very worried about the future and that is where the focus of the Fed and its members needs to be over the next few years”.