Economy: Creative Industries
Lord Evans of Temple Guiting (Government Whip (technically a Lord in Waiting, HM Household); Labour)
My Lords, I start by thanking the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, for securing this debate. Like everyone else, I think that it is a great shame that we have had to do it so quickly. There are some very important matters to be discussed but we will not have time to do so.
Last week I spent a great deal of time at the literary festival at Hay-on-Wye. Although it is called a literary festival, it is much more than that. It is a week when many major players in the creative economy converge on Hay, turning this small town into a hub of creativity—a live testament to the importance of the creative economy. People from film, music, literature and theatre come together and talk; and if you listen, no one would doubt the existence and growing importance of this part of our economy—growing, as we have heard, at twice the rate of the economy as a whole, with exports for this sector of around £13.6 billion. My noble friend Lord Haskel argues that it must be seen as central to our economy and not as a sideshow. He is absolutely right, as is the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, who made the same point.
Let me give a few examples of what I heard at Hay. Tim Bevan, of Working Title, told me that "Mr Bean", yet to open in the US, has already grossed $181 million around the world. Andy Harries, of Left Bank Pictures, which made "The Queen", directed by Stephen Frears, told me that it cost $15 million to make, was shot and edited entirely in the UK and has taken to date—and it is just at the beginning of its run—$120,000,000 worldwide. But the British film industry, as we have heard, is flourishing not only in London. John Newbigin told me that last year two international hit films were made in the West Midlands—I did not know that. "Confetti" sold to the US market for four times production cost and the acclaimed "The Road to Guantanamo" has been sold in 23 countries around the world. Neither of these films would have been made without the support of Screen West Midlands, a regional support agency for the West Midlands film industry.
A record 12.3 million people attended the London theatre, and we heard from my noble friend Lady McIntosh the value of theatre both inside and outside London. I had hoped that the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd-Webber, would be in his place this evening, but he is abroad preparing the sequel to the fabulously successful "The Phantom of the Opera". The total value of UK film exports in 2006 was just under £600 million. As we know, the UK is second only to the US in the global art market.
The other evening, my noble friend Lord Rogers won the prestigious Pritzker Prize, the Nobel Prize for architecture, reminding us that UK firms account for eight of the top 10 architectural firms in western Europe. Our music industry is the third largest in the world, worth £6 billion. As an example, in March, Amy Winehouse's album "Back to Black" entered the Billboard chart in the US at No. 7, with 57,000 sales in the first week. By the end of May, it had sold more than 400,000. Closer to home, British music artists are the dominant force in Europe. Nineteen of the 36 IFPI platinum awards made to artists selling more than 1 million copies of an album across Europe went to British acts.
UK book publishing is the largest in Europe, exporting more than 40 per cent of what it produces. Nobody will be surprised to learn that the sales of JK Rowling's six Harry Potter books exceed 325 million copies. As we have heard, the UK is a world leader in computer games. Grand Theft Auto has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide, with a revenue of nearly £2 billion.
I could talk about many things but I do not have the time. I am particularly pleased that the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, talked about advertising, which is a very important creative industry, and that the noble Lord, Lord Patel, touched on design. I have not mentioned Brit art and Damien Hirst's diamond skull. These are all extraordinary examples of the vitality and economic worth of this industry.
Many speakers asked about the Government's role in this vital part of the economy. I have heard before the view expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Howard of Rising, and it is a perfectly reasonable position to take—that the Government have no role and should just let creative people get on with it. My view and that of the Government is that a benign framework should be provided within which the creative industries can flourish. The Government should also provide the statistics to monitor the growth of the creative economy. To go off message for a moment, my own view is that the creative economy is worth a good deal more than 7 per cent of our gross national product.
The Government must continue to fund the arts properly because the arts are the catalyst for much of what has happened and will happen in the creative economy. Like the noble Baroness, I was greatly heartened by the speech made by the next Prime Minister at Brighton, in which he recognised the contribution that government arts funding makes to the creative economy.
Education, which is so important at every level, was stressed by noble Lords. Some people in the popular music world whom I knew a few years ago had all been educated at art school. I refer to Pete Townsend, Brian Eno and Ray Davies of the Kinks. Perhaps that was the case with that whole generation. Are art schools still as creative now as they were then? Is there that same extraordinary creative activity that there was in the 1970s and the 1980s? As I say, education is hugely important.
The Government should prepare reports that focus on aspects of this economy that need careful thought. That was mentioned. I refer to the Cox review of creativity, the Roberts report on creativity in schools and the Gowers review of intellectual property. I add my voice firmly to those who praised the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee report into the creative industries. It is an excellent report and I hope that everybody will heed it. The creative economy Green Paper, which is expected to be published shortly, will set out the Government's vision for supporting our creative sector. This will be a significant step in the Government's support for the creative industries and will build on the excellent work of the creative industries task force in 1998 and the 2001 mapping document.
My noble friends Lord Smith and Lady Morris, the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, and others touched on an issue that in itself deserves a full debate; namely, the protection of intellectual property in the digital age. Grave problems need to be addressed but we are all at one in saying that, without protection from piracy in whatever form or guise, all aspects of the creative economy will be damaged, including its future growth and worth. It is extremely worrying that people are arguing rationally for copyright work to be available at the point of creation. We must resist that. People will create only if their work is protected. We must do everything that we can to discuss this, push back that boundary and make sure that anybody who steals creative work is dealt with appropriately.
Unfortunately, I do not have time to answer the specific questions asked by my noble friends Lord Giddens and Lady McIntosh, but I undertake to do so shortly. In the mean time, I thank all noble Lords for being so incredibly positive about this economy. We must all keep talking about it and do everything that we can to protect the people who create it for us. We should keep discussing it and keep stressing its vital importance not only to our way of life but to our children and our economy.