Economy: Creative Industries
Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall (Labour)
My Lords, this is the text message version of a longer speech. The first message is that I agree with pretty much everything that has been said so far, by every speaker—remarkably, within the time limit set.
The second message is that the creative industries include the performing arts—it says so on the DCMS website, so it must be true. The performing arts have led to very significant urban regeneration, and I give as an example the South Bank. Noble Lords can walk along the South Bank, see what has happened there and the economic activity that has followed. It is important that we recognise how significant the impact of large-scale cultural projects can be on producing regeneration.
Thirdly, theatre, which is part of the performing arts, is big business. It is worth approximately £2.6 billion per annum in the UK, £1.5 billion of that in London alone. It attracts visitors and is a tremendous export success. An example of that is "The History Boys" from the National Theatre. Will my noble friend confirm that the Government understand the powerful contribution that theatre makes, both culturally and economically, and does he agree that we must be careful not to undermine that contribution? Can he also say what progress is being made to ensure that theatres are not adversely affected by the sell-off of analogue frequencies ahead of digital switchover in 2012? That is a bit of an anorak point, but I am sure that the Minister will have a very good answer.
Finally, I shall say a very quick word about the Roundhouse in north London, of which I am proud to be a trustee. The Roundhouse has just completed a refurbishment, which cost about £30 million, of which 60 per cent has come from private donation and 40 per cent from public sources, both national and local. At the heart of the Roundhouse project is an inspirational new facility for young people, the Roundhouse Studios, which is equipped with performance spaces, recording studios, practice rooms, camera and editing facilities, musical instruments and much more. Some 4,000 young people have been through its programme since the building reopened. Most of them are from hard-to-reach communities, and many are linked to pupil referral units and youth services. They come to the Roundhouse to work with professional artists, technicians, marketing people and administration staff, to explore their own creativity but also to learn skills and develop attitudes that will help them into employment. This is another kind of cultural regeneration, regenerating minds and hearts, encouraging aspiration and supporting ambition, and we need much more of it.