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Jeremy Wright speech at the Creative Industries Federation Summit

Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Speech made by Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to the Creative Industries Federation’s International Summit:

Good afternoon everyone.

It is wonderful to be here and it is a real honour to represent our world-leading creative industries in my role at DCMS.

Our creativity is our calling card to the world.

And it can be found everywhere you look.

A few weeks ago I visited the Koestler Trust, a brilliant organisation that brings culture and creativity into our prisons, supporting offenders and ex-offenders.

The founder of the charity, Arthur Koestler, once said “The principal mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.”

And there is so much originality to be found in our creative industries.

That’s why our recording artists accounted for 8 of the top 10 artist albums in 2017.

Why our films earn one sixth of total global receipts.

And why we’re the world’s largest exporter of physical books.

And this originality isn’t just pivotal to our wellbeing and enjoyment, it’s pivotal to our economy and our standing as a nation.

The cultural and creative industries are at the heart of our soft power and they help fly the flag for the best of British abroad.

For example, Sherlock is watched by 70 million people in China alone and has driven an influx of visitors to Baker Street.

Whilst the success of Downton Abbey brought visitors from across the world to our National Trust properties, it even led to a spike in demand for British butlers…

The UK recently returned to first position in the Global Soft Power Index – and this rise has been driven by our creative industries.

The report praised the strength of our globally respected brands, like the British Council and the BBC World Service. And there are many more here today.

You are ambassadors for our nation this very important time.

We have a vast global cultural influence for many years now and other countries are trying to catch us up – and are investing heavily as they do so.

It is therefore important to strive to stay on top and keep promoting positive British values to the world.

In the New Year, the Government will be publishing our Soft Power Strategy and you have a large part to play.

Because as we leave the European Union, you are vital in showing the world that we are more open-minded, outward looking and ready to work together than ever before.

And to flourish as an independent nation, we need to give our thriving creative industries the best possible support.

So before I answer a few questions, I wanted to set out a few areas for discussion that I see as being particularly crucial in the coming years.

First of all, we want to support you domestically so that you can drive growth in the economy and enrich lives here in the UK.

A strong creative sector means a strong economy.

The work of our country’s incredible designers can be seen in all aspects of our lives, whether it’s the cars we drive, the clothes we wear or the technology we use.

The benefits of creativity and innovation are clear. So it is really important that we channel them in the best possible way.

The Creative Industries Sector Deal was a real milestone and one we can all be proud of.

As part of this landmark deal, more than £150 million is being jointly invested by government and industry to help cultural and creative businesses across Britain thrive.

This includes our £80 million Creative Industries Cluster Programme, investing in nine new partnerships between our creative industries and our world-leading universities.

And £33 million of investment in immersive technologies like virtual reality video games, interactive art shows and augmented reality experiences.

The real significance is not the publication of the document however. The real significance will be seen in its delivery and the difference it makes to creative industries businesses on the ground.

The framework has been set but I want to hear from you what is working and what is not.

Since taking on this role, I have been particularly interested to see how digital and culture, both of which are parts of the DCMS portfolio, have been inspiring each other, keeping both industries at the cutting edge.

Theatre is blending with film; and computer programming with sculpture. We have virtual reality curatorship, animated artworks, video games scored by classical music composers.

So let us dispense with the idea that we must choose between creativity and technical excellence. That young people should have to choose between STEM and the arts.

Our tech companies thrive on creativity and our creative sector depends on technical brilliance and pushing the boundaries of innovation.

And it’s this spirit that gives us a huge competitive advantage, brings in new audiences and puts us in a prime position for the future.

This pioneering ethos will be showcased at a nationwide festival of Britain in 2022, through an exciting programme of arts, culture, design and tech. I hope that you can all play a part in making it a success.

And as we look ahead to the future, I’m delighted that Tim Davie will be co-chairing Creative Industries Council with me.

And that Tim has been appointed as Board member of the Creative Industries Federation, which under Alan Bishop’s leadership is set to go from strength to strength. Together they can help drive even stronger engagement between Government and industry.

Now I’ve heard through both the Creative Industries Council and the Creative Industries Federation that skills and talent are a big priority for you all.

The Sector Deal made big strides in this area, with a 2 million pound fund to develop and deliver an industry-led creative careers programme; thank you to all of you for your support in making the case for this.

This fund will make sure that there is a larger and more diverse intake of talent and a broader range of routes into the creative industries.

We have seen some excellent work on this, for example, the British Fashion Council’s ambitious work to encourage promising new designers.

We all have a responsibility to make sure our nation’s cultural output more closely represents the country as a whole.

I also hear loud and clear that international talent is important for the growth of our creative industries.

The UK has talented performers, famous artists and world-leading industry professionals. Our soft power relies upon them.

And it’s in nobody’s interests to make it difficult for them to do this vital work. Not in the interests of the Government, not our artists and certainly not the many people who want to see them across Europe and the world.

We are working on a reciprocal framework for mobility that will…

Support businesses that want to provide services and move their talented people;

Allow people to travel freely for tourism and temporary business activity;

And enable students and young people to continue to benefit from world-leading universities and the cultural experiences the UK and EU have to offer.

The Government will be publishing its proposals in the autumn and I see it as part of my role to make sure your views are understood.

Because although we want a new immigration system that ends freedom of movement, we also want to continue attracting the brightest and the best in the creative sector, from the EU and elsewhere.

One of the most enduring and powerful aspects of culture is how it is perennially looking outwards. After all, you cannot put boundaries on the free flow of ideas and creativity.

And as we leave the EU, our creative sector will continue to be one of the major forces behind our economic growth.

I know that many of you work on projects that span borders and we want to maintain this flexibility.

We are working with the EU on a Cooperative Accord for Culture and Education, that will facilitate ongoing cooperation and collaboration in the arts, heritage, the wider creative industries and education.

This Accord will underpin our efforts towards our shared objectives. Like preventing the illicit removal and trading of cultural objects and making sure that UK and EU citizens can keep benefiting from cultural and educational exchanges.

The Brexit White Paper, published earlier this summer, restated that the UK will continue benefiting from European works status, which will enable us to co-produce with EU member states and count towards quotas.

This is important if we are to remain a hub for international broadcasting at an important time for culture and creativity across the world.

The creative industries accounted for 11 per cent of total UK services exports in 2016, the highest proportion since 2010.

So it is important that we get your views and evidence of what is important as we shape our new trade policy, for trade with our friends and partners in the EU and across the world.

The possibility of future free trade agreements give us a real opportunity to further the interests of the sector and to strike new agreements with countries like the USA, Australia and New Zealand, with innovation and ingenuity at their heart.

And I would encourage everyone here to have your say and provide evidence to the DIT consultations on this, so we can get the best possible outcome.

Because if we get it right, the prize can be huge. All the evidence shows that companies who export are more likely to grow and are more productive.

The Creative Industries Trade and Investment Board, established through the Sector Deal to allow for a more strategic and industry-led approach to trade and export support, will be vital in this goal.

We will play our part as Government by making sure the cultural and creative industries can take full advantage of the support on offer from UK Export Finance.

Alongside this, the impact of the UK’s creative tax reliefs on DCMS sectors, and beyond, is truly staggering, as shown by today’s Screen Business Report commissioned by the BFI.

In it, my colleague the Chancellor of the Exchequer restates his commitment to this policy, which the Government supported to the tune of over 850 million pounds last year.

The creative sector tax reliefs have powered growth, created tens of thousands of jobs the length and breadth of the UK and cemented Britain’s truly global standing in the art and business of the moving image.

There is much demand for British creativity and excellence abroad.

We are about to enter a new era for our creative industries. Where we will chart our own course.

And our creative sector will be at the heart of this.

Because you show our country at its best. Our wit, our imagination and our ability to tell stories that enthrall the world.

And with government and industry working side by side we can entertain and inspire for generations to come.

Thank you very much.

Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

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