Economy: Creative Industries
Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe (Labour)
My Lords, it is a pleasure to speak about the contribution of the creative industries to the UK, because those industries, as other noble Lords have said, are the dazzling jewel in the UK treasure chest. I am sure that noble Lords will say that that jewel should be displayed regularly and with considerable ostentation. Higher education institutions have an essential role in keeping that jewel sparkling. I declare my interest as chief executive of Universities UK.
Higher education institutions provide the skilled workforce that enables the creative industries to succeed. Our smaller, specialist institutions, such as the Royal College of Art, the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, are never undersubscribed and never short of successful, even world-famous graduates. Our larger, more mainstream universities equally play a role, as was shown in Universities UK's recent publication Higher Level Learning.
I shall give just two examples—and there are many that I could choose. Abertay Dundee, with support from the industry, became the first university in the world to develop degrees in computer games technology. The London College of Fashion, part of the University of the Arts, London, has its own fashion business resource studio. Competition is intense; having a degree is not always enough. That is why universities offer placements, work experience and tailored vocational teaching. But to maintain this success—and I echo here everything that the noble Lord, Lord Patel, said—investment is needed.
Government commitment to research and development, particularly in science, has been widely welcomed. I hope that the Minister will reassure me that this does not mean that the arts and humanities will be forgotten, since they are vital to the creative sector. Could he also comment on how the Government intend to support collaboration between higher education and small and medium enterprises, which are so prevalent in the creative sector? With proper support for applied research and incentives for university collaboration, our creative industries will continue to dazzle, both nationally and internationally.