Queen’s Speech — Debate (4th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:29 pm on 14th May 2013.

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Photo of Lord Clement-Jones Lord Clement-Jones Liberal Democrat 5:29 pm, 14th May 2013

My Lords, I, too, start by congratulating our maiden speakers on three superb speeches. Today’s debate, focusing in part on health, education and welfare, is a chance to welcome warmly a number of key elements in the Queen’s Speech and the forthcoming legislative programme: the Care Bill, the Pensions Bill, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples)

Bill and the carryover of the Children and Families Bill, which, as we have been reminded, contains the biggest overhaul of the SEN system in 30 years. On the other hand, in the health context, I very much hope that legislation for plain standardised packaging for tobacco products is not being kicked into the long grass despite clear evidence that it would have the desired impact.

I heard the negative commentary of the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, on the Queen’s Speech, but I do not think that Peter Oborne of the Telegraph is a notable supporter of the coalition and we should take notice when he described the Queen’s Speech as “sharp, dynamic and purposeful” and,

“a serious programme for government”.

Today, I want to speak about the issues affecting the creative and cultural industries and the tourism industry, which will need to be tackled by the DCMS, the Treasury and the Business Department if they are to fulfil their potential in growing our economy. The recent CEBR report for the Arts Council, mentioned in the lyrical maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, on the economic impact of the arts and culture, strongly emphasised the link between the two sectors, with 42% of all tourism expenditure involving cultural engagement. In the case of both sectors, it is crucial to build on the Olympic legacy. Is it not a real tribute that Channel 4 won the BAFTA television award for sport and live events for its coverage of last year’s Paralympic Games?

As another aside on the Olympic legacy, rather less positive, there is now, after a long delay, a supplier recognition scheme in place, whereby, in general, suppliers are allowed to promote their work for the Olympics. Yet there are still areas, nine months after the event, not covered by the scheme. Many companies selling products such as lighting and audio-visual equipment are not able to publicise their involvement with London 2012. The value of the Olympic legacy for these businesses is being completely lost, and this is disgraceful.

Many of us have been impressed by the post-Olympics GREAT promotional campaign overseas, which has highlighted our creative and cultural sector for visitors. We are beginning to see real strategic co-operation between UKTI, VisitBritain, the Arts Council and the British Council, which is extremely welcome, but we need to do more to co-operate in squeezing out every bit of resource. The Australian tourism marketing budget in China, for example, is £13 million, while ours is a mere £1 million. It is extraordinary to consider that the impact of these two sectors—tourism and hospitality and the creative industries—sponsored by the DCMS, taken together and calculated by Oxford Economics and Nesta, amounts to some 20% of our GDP, delivers more than 5 million jobs and offers the strongest prospects of growth in employment over the coming years.

In this context, I want to mention the recent speech by my right honourable friend the Culture Secretary at the British Museum. I did not take it as a demonstration of some kind of Gradgrind utilitarian approach to the arts and culture. She was not insisting that all arts activity needs to be monetised. I took it as an understandably plaintive cry for support in her battle with the Treasury in its demand for more cuts in the service of deficit reduction. With perfect timing, we have had the CEBR report commissioned by the Arts Council on the contribution of the arts and culture, which makes it clear that, quite apart from their intrinsic value, they are very good value for money. Public funding of the arts can, in particular, help to diminish the economic risk of developing new productions, which can then go onto global success. Take the productions of the National Theatre’s “War Horse” and “Matilda” from the RSC, for example.

The Korean fashion entrepreneur Sung-Joo Kim, in an inspirational speech to an all-party group here in the Lords a couple of weeks ago, talked vividly of Britain’s future as a creative brain centre, in terms of our creative skills, allied to our archive, museum and gallery resources—now, of course, including the BBC’s Digital Public Space. There is no doubt that our future lies with our imagination, creativity and invention. We are pre-eminent in so many creative areas; the UK has the largest cultural economy in Europe, and the creative and cultural industries represent one of our economy’s greatest success stories. It was great to hear yesterday, for example, that the new “Star Wars” film will be made in the UK.

The Olympics showcased the social and economic value of intellectual property to the UK. We need to realise that our creativity, ideas and intellectual capital will increasingly drive our future prosperity. The recent Nesta Manifesto for the Creative Economy had some good recommendations, especially on the need for better measurement of the creative economy and the need to recognise and understand the economic connections between the arts and creative industries. However, at the end of the day the same old message is being delivered, as it was in the Hargreaves report, that copyright is an impediment to innovation and growth. Indeed, the Nesta report claims that term extension to copyright has weakened the ability of UK business to innovate; it equates copyright with regulation. This kind of attitude is spilling over into dealings with the EU. During a recent trip to Brussels, members of the All-Party Parliamentary Intellectual Property Group were greatly concerned by the apparent stance of the UK Government in appearing to support those in the Commission, notably DG Connect, which wishes to weaken copyright protection by the introduction of yet further exceptions beyond those contained in the current directive on copyright in the information society, such as over user-generated content. This is extraordinary, given the importance to our economy of the creative industries. It was a delight, therefore, to see the recent piece from the noble Lord, Lord Smith of Finsbury, on Music Tank, forcefully arguing the contrary.

I know that my noble friend Lord Younger intends to be a strong advocate for the value of intellectual property, but we need clear and concrete signals that the role of intellectual property as the foundation of our creative industries is appreciated by government. A vital step would be the implementation of the Digital Economy Act. If the Government are serious about the health of our creative sector, it seems extraordinary that we are still waiting for the issue of sharing of costs relating to notifications and appeals against the initial obligations code to be resolved by the Treasury three years after the passing of the Act. Nor has the DEA been activated in respect of public lending rights to on-site loans of audio books, e-books and so on.

Another strong signal needed from government is one in support of the creation of the copyright hub, which is a major initiative designed to streamline copyright licensing across the industry. I welcome the Government’s decision to give modest funding support to the development of the copyright hub, which will ensure that it comes into operation earlier than anticipated. I am delighted that, after a terrific campaign by the PRS and the music industry with support from government, the Global Repertoire Database has recently announced that it is locating its global headquarters in London. That is a triumph.

Also on the subject of intellectual property, I want to welcome the Intellectual Property Bill, which is focused on design rights and the introduction of the Unified Patent Court, which we will debate in more detail next week. We certainly need to consider extending the ambit of that to unregistered design and consider other aspects of it, such as providing for public lending right to cover remote e-lending, as recommended by the Sieghart report. I also welcome the consumer rights Bill.

Yesterday, my noble friend Lady Bonham-Carter made powerful points in her speech on two issues that impact heavily on the creative industries: education and skills and finance. I warmly support what she said, particularly over the necessity of implementing Darren Henley’s cultural education recommendations and in taking forward the Creative Industries Council’s recommendations on financing creative industries. I am pleasantly surprised to find that Creative England is now recognised to be playing a very important role.

I have very little time left to me, but I want to mention the enormous advantages that the UK has in its attractions for visiting tourists—yet it is often seen as the Cinderella sector. I hope that the Culture Secretary will, as recommended by industry representatives, agree to form across industry a hospitality and tourism council along the lines of the Creative Industries Council, to include government and industry leaders, jointly chaired by the Culture and Business Secretaries. Those two sectors are of huge significance to our future prosperity. I hope that the Government will take the necessary action so that the opportunities presented can be seized by all concerned.