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Creative Arts (Thurrock)

Business, Innovation and Skills – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 16th July 2009.

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Photo of Andrew MacKinlay Andrew MacKinlay Labour, Thurrock 10:30 am, 16th July 2009

What progress has been made in funding the proposed co-location of the National Academy for Creative and Cultural Skills and the Royal Opera House production campus in Thurrock.

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Photo of Andrew MacKinlay Andrew MacKinlay Labour, Thurrock

"Soon" is ambiguous. Does the Minister mean in the next few days? In that case, I would tick the box marked "joined-up government". However, if he does not provide funding-approximately £650,000-immediately, this side of the recess, the project will be put in jeopardy. It is a flagship project-culturally, through its co-location with the Royal Opera House project, and in its relation to the Thames Gateway project and the projects for the Olympic games. I want to know whether we will get our money so that the design and the work can commence soon. I need to know that before we go into recess. Answer now.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Shadow Minister (Education)

Perhaps the Minister's honesty will continue in his answer to my question. He will know that creative and cultural skills are vital for our economy. The UK has the largest cultural sector in the world in terms of proportion of GDP, employing 1 million people. However, a recent report by Tom Bewick, the director general of the sector skills council, says that there are more than a

"hundred employers queuing up to take part" in new creative and cultural apprenticeships,

"but they cannot currently do so because government is failing to actively engage".

In revealing precisely how few businesses in the sector receive funding, will the Minister scotch the rumour that the Government intend to transfer powers from sectors to regions?

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Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Minister of State (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (also Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Further Education, Skills, Apprenticeships and Consumer Affairs) (also Department for Children, Schools and Families)

Well, yes. Obviously, the creative sector is an extremely important and growing part of the economy. We recognise its critical importance, and I recognise the importance of the capital bid that my hon. Friend Andrew Mackinlay featured in his question. We are committed to the sector and to providing support to national skills academies.

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