Cultural Sector (Merseyside)

Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 22nd November 2012.

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Photo of Alison McGovern Alison McGovern Labour, Wirral South 9:30 am, 22nd November 2012

What assessment she has made of the cultural sector in Merseyside.

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

Our most recent survey data show that last year, nearly 80% of adults in the north-west engaged with the arts and 4.9 million people visited DCMS-sponsored museums. Between 2010 and 2015, the Arts Council will invest £44 million in Merseyside organisations and £140 million across the north-west. National Museums Liverpool will receive £109 million in grant in aid.

Photo of Alison McGovern Alison McGovern Labour, Wirral South

I never get tired of hearing how successful the cultural sector is in Merseyside, so I thank the Minister for his answer. However, he knows as well as I do that National Museums is not the same as the support that local authorities formerly gave and that before the disastrous cuts that they now face, leaders in Merseyside had been able to support the arts, so why will he not answer the question from my right hon. and learned Friend Ms Harman? Why will he not say to us today that he will undertake a survey of local authority cuts and place that information about the arts in the House of Commons Library?

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The reason the hon. Lady does not get tired of hearing about the success of Merseyside’s arts organisations is that they are astonishingly successful. Liverpool had an incredible year as the European city of culture, its central library is being refurbished, it opened the first national museum for a century, the Liverpool Everyman is benefiting from a £28 million refurbishment, and only recently the Royal Court received a grant of £867,000 for its refurbishment.

Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Shadow Minister (Energy and Climate Change)

One of Merseyside’s creative industry strengths is our video games sector. Will the Minister please update the House on the progress that his Government are making towards introducing a video games tax relief?

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

I am delighted to have the opportunity to remind the House that we are introducing an important tax credit for the video games industry. Our negotiations with the European Commission are going very well and we are, I hope, still on target to introduce it next April.