Arts Investment

Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 15 January 2015.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour, Huddersfield 9:30, 15 January 2015

What steps he is taking to increase investment in film, theatre and the arts in the UK.

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The Government have an excellent record of creating new opportunities for investing in the arts and creative industries. Following the success of UK film tax credits, which have generated billions in investment since 2010, we have introduced new tax reliefs for TV, video games, animation and theatres, and continue to invest in skills and innovation.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour, Huddersfield

Huddersfield Town, one of the most famous football clubs, plays in blue as well.

There are some very good things going on in the arts, such as the international film awards. But the community arts scene, certainly in places such as Yorkshire, is really feeling the pinch. A lot of our talent starts off in little community groups and grows but there is an absolute desert at the grassroots of the arts for lack of funding.

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

First, I welcome the hon. Gentleman’s support for what has been achieved in the arts under this Government. He makes a good point. If I remember correctly, he raised recently the issue of social investment tax relief, which can help community arts activities as well as other charitable activities. He had called for an increase in the cap and he will know that the Chancellor announced just that in the last autumn statement. He can see from that that the Government are listening and doing what we can to help community arts.

Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

I congratulate the Government on their investment through tax credits and the wonderful boost that that has given to the UK film industry. Will he join me in celebrating the investment made by small cinemas such as the Ritz in Thirsk and the Palace in Malton to bring digital cinema to a wider rural community and giving people a great night out?

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

I support everyone having a great night out and if the Government can help with that, it is a good thing. But seriously Mr Speaker, my hon. Friend is right to point out the support that the Government have provided to the film industry. Just in the last year, the Government have helped support over 300 films made in the UK with expenditure of almost £3 billion across the country, which is a good thing for us all.

Photo of Simon Danczuk Simon Danczuk Labour, Rochdale

Does the Secretary of State agree that one way to increase investment in the creative industries is through retransmission fees? Where are we with the consultation on those fees?

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

We will be launching a consultation within weeks on this issue. I have spoken about it before, the last time being at the Royal Television Society. I agree that it is an important issue that has not been looked at for years. It is about time we did.