It is delightful to have this debate under your very good chairmanship, Mr. Weir. I am truly grateful to all hon. Members for listening and contributing to it.
The debate has been inspired by the Government's recently published strategy on the creative industries: "Creative Britain—New Talents for the New Economy." The creative industries are a key part of the UK economy. According to our latest figures, they contribute 7.3 per cent. of UK gross value added, and have been growing at 6 per cent., which is double that of the UK economy as a whole. They export £14.5 billion of goods and employ nearly 2 million people. They are a key part of our knowledge-based economy, on which our future prosperity as a nation depends. The Government's definition of the sector, and our specific work with it, is relatively new, but extremely important and constantly evolving.
Labour's first Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, now Lord Smith of Finsbury, created the Creative Industries Task Force, which produced the definition of the creative industries and the initial mapping document, which we published in 1998 with an update in 2001, and which set out the relative strengths of the 13 industries. We have retained that initial definition as the basis of our engagement and work with the sector, but no one in 1998 could have predicted the phenomena that are now part of that sector—YouTube, MySpace, Facebook and so on. As convergence increases, the gaps between the creative industries are blurring. Film, music, publishing and games can all be accessed and enjoyed on a range of platforms. The convergence of technologies creates new opportunities and new markets. Instead of referring to individual industries, it has become valid to see relevance in an overall creative economy, which recognises the economic potential of creative expression, whatever its form.
We launched the creative economy programme in November 2005, when the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions was Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. He saw it as the next stage in Government involvement in the creative sector. The first part of the programme was talking, investigating and consulting. We formed a number of working groups to look at the key drivers of the UK's creative economy, and ran a number of policy discussions and sector summits to obtain the views of industry stakeholders and others.
Those groups produced a series of documents, which became the basis of a further consultation exercise in the summer of 2006. Those reports were then published in November 2006 and provided the solid base for the next phase of the programme. Many of the ideas and recommendations in the document that we are debating have been translated into commitments. I pay a warm tribute to those who were part of the working groups, with special praise to those who chaired them.
In late 2006, we approached Will Hutton of the Work Foundation to write an economic underpinning analysis of the creative economy in the UK so that we had a good context in which to take the work forward. His thesis was discussed during a series of seminars covering the entire creative industries, which enabled the sectors to raise their concerns with us. His work was published in June 2007 in "Staying Ahead: the economic performance of the UK's creative industries". That set out the great performance of the UK's creative sector and attempted to capture the reasons for that success. Its publication is the basis on which we have taken forward the programme of work.
There is now growing recognition of the vital significance of the creative industries to the UK economy. Most recently, the Prime Minister recognised them as being in the premier league of the economy, and the Chancellor referred to their contribution in his Budget speech. Industry reaction to the creative economy programme has been extremely positive, and there has been no shortage of enthusiastic endorsers expressing their willingness to engage and give their views.
The creative industries share many features of other sectors of the economy, so what they ask of the Government in some ways is the same as other sectors. I shall give two examples. They depend, as does every other sector, on macro-economic stability.
Does my right hon. Friend agree that in the various stages that her Department has gone through to reach the current policy position on creative industries, the reference to ceramics and textiles on page 64 of the document "Unlocking Talent" means that the ceramics industry is at the core of her commitment to creative industries?
My hon. Friend is a constant and terrific campaigner on behalf of her constituents, including those who represent the ceramics industry. Indeed, I had the privilege of making a visit there last summer. I accept that the industry plays an important role in the creative economy, and that we must do a lot of work with it to maintain its international competitiveness, particularly with cheaper production costs in China and the far east in general. We share that commitment, as she encourages us to do. We will do all we can to work together to ensure its continued significance in her regional economy and its contribution to the UK economy.
Given the immensely cheaper labour and other costs in places such as China, how can we ensure that the creative industries, such as those in the Potteries, will be maintained? Is that just wishful thinking, or will there be some Government action?
If the hon. Gentleman had read the report, he would know where the action is. In all sectors, we must analyse carefully where added value is and where the strengths are in the UK's contribution to the industry. Some production may be outsourced, but the creativity is here, as is the marketing and selling of goods. In some instances, depending on the sector, the transport costs of producing goods in Asia and bringing them here may be a factor that we can use to our advantage to maintain some productive capacity. The better our innovation and new productive techniques, the more likely we are to maintain productive capacity in the UK economy. That is not easy, but it is doable.
How is the creative sector as a whole like other sectors? First, one obvious way is dependence on macro-economic stability and ensuring that the Government provide the conditions in which businesses can prosper. Even in the current turbulent times, our record is second to none. We have provided stability, growth, low inflation and increasing job opportunities in every year of this Administration. Given the way in which we strongly manage the macro-economy, we are well placed to withstand the challenges, especially those to the financial markets, from the credit crunch.
The second issue facing the creative sector which also faces other sectors is the opportunities and challenges from globalisation and the new markets that have suddenly opened to us. The challenges come from new competition. Yesterday, I was at a conference on the film industry where we considered inward and outward investment. Again, where is the added value from the UK film industry that we can capture and build on to ensure that we realise the opportunities from globalisation and meet the challenges of competitive costs elsewhere?
Some challenges are also specific to the creative industries. I shall give a couple of examples. Rapidly changing technology puts existing business models in the creative industries in greater stress than elsewhere. In particular, the protection of intellectual property is at the heart of what the creative industries are about, although they are dependent on copyright protection rather than patent protection, which is more easily and closely defined.
On that important point, the Minister will be aware that in response to a question asked by Mr. Whittingdale, who is Chairman of the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, she said that the Government continue to have an "open mind" on the issue of copyright. Despite having said that, she is well aware of the Gowers recommendation. Can she help us by being a little more forthright about her position and accepting once and for all that we need an extension of copyright with some additional protections?
The hon. Gentleman refers to one copyright issue that is of particular importance to the music industry, which has done a lot of lobbying on extending copyright to 95 years, as it is in America. He will know that underpinning the Gowers recommendations not to extend copyright was Gowers' research suggesting that doing so would not substantially increase the value to the individual from the exercise of their copyright. The hon. Gentleman will also know that research in Europe—the name of the man who did it escapes me—demonstrated that an extension of copyright was perhaps not the best way of adding value to the copyright of the individual. However—
That is why I thought that I had better finish my remarks.
However, we have listened to what the European Commissioner said. Clearly, we need to consider that matter. We are consulting to see how we should respond and what the Commission will do, because it is not 100 per cent. clear.
I am aware of that analysis, and I know it was considered by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, of which the hon. Gentleman is Chair. There is some dispute about the basis on which the various analyses have been undertaken. If we are to have further regulation, the research evidence on which we make policy must be properly underpinned and understood. I am aware of the report and we, too, are considering it.
We all accept that music in particular faces huge challenges from changes in technology. These days, about 90 per cent. of singles are downloaded, but in 2004 the figure was just 5 per cent. Research from the British Video Association puts the cost of piracy of audio-visual goods and the illegal downloading of those goods at around £460 million a year. There is a considerable challenge in relation to that.
Something that is specific to the creative industry sector is the emphasis on skills. The reason a creative industry prospers or does well is because of the creative and innovative skills of the individuals who are involved in the business. A disproportionate number of people with graduate skills are required by the industry. There are some interesting challenges in relation to higher education, such as the courses that are available and the extent to which the competences match the skills required by the industry. For example, 1,000 courses have the term "film" in the title and more than 350 have the word "television" in the title. Yet, we know from talking to industry colleagues that there are some questions about whether those courses provide the appropriate competences for people when they move into the industry.
Why does the OECD put us at the top of its list? It is because the UK is an exciting and innovative place for creative entrepreneurs to live and work in. The more I talk to people in the creative industry sector, the more I realise that the attractiveness of the UK is the key reason why they stay here. We must nurture that and hang onto it. We also have an open environment, in which we encourage innovation, and we have a talented, high-quality population. Businesses need those skills and we need to capture and use them.
That, in summary, gives the context, and that context led to the development and production of the document, "Creative Britain—New Talents for the New Economy", which I call the latest stage of the journey. The document has 26 specific commitments. They start with trying to ensure that children are given proper exposure to creative industries, and move on to ensuring that creative talent is used to its maximum potential, and to supporting the growth and development of creative businesses. Hon. Members will be pleased to hear that I will not mention every commitment, but I would like to draw their attention to what I think are the most important.
One of the most exciting commitments is the "Find Your Talent" programme. The best way to support the creative industries is to find and inspire the next generation of creative individuals. We are trying to build on the success of the programme for sport activities, which offers children two to five hours of sport a week. Around 80 per cent. of children now have two hours of sports activities a week, and we are using that as an example to ensure that they get experience in the cultural world. The programme is about experiencing and participating—going to a theatre as well as taking part in a piece of drama; listening to music as well as playing an instrument; visiting a gallery as well as creating a piece of visual art. This week we made an announcement about dance, and, from the investment that we are making nationally, we hope that dance will increase in importance in the life of schools and the curriculum.
Along with the other initiatives, we hope that the "Find Your Talent" programme will help young people to develop their creative talent, because it is that talent that is at the heart of the creative economy and will allow it to continue to thrive and prosper.
I share the view that that could be exciting. The various newspapers that have done an analysis in relation to it have pointed out that the funding proposed works out at £15 a pupil a year, or 29p a week. I did a further analysis, and at five hours a week, the funding works out at less than 6p an hour. Clearly, such figures are complete nonsense if the Minister is to deliver the sort of programmes to which she is referring. Can the she tell us where the newspapers have got their calculations wrong?
The newspapers have got them wrong on the basis that they have assumed that those are the only resources available for that purpose. The hon. Gentleman will know that culture already forms an integral part of the experience of children in many schools—not in as ambitious a way as we would like, but it is an integral part of the school experience and the curriculum. He also knows that a number of programmes over recent years have encouraged that—for example, the investment of £320 million a year in the music programme. Friday before last, I was at a school in my constituency where I watched a whole class of nine-year-olds perform a concert for me. They had been learning their instruments once a week for about four months. It was terrific to see young, fairly tough lads playing their violins. It was great that they were moving in time to the music as well as playing together. That scheme captures all that is best about creativity. I thought that it was great, but to make a more serious point, there is an impact on standards generally, because involvement in music and other activities helps young people with team playing and helps them to think about shape and pattern, all of which are skills that they need to be successful learners.
I can see that the Minister is already benefiting from the Government's dance programme. I think that the £320 million that she mentioned covers three years, but that is not why I am intervening. Can she clarify that Creative Partnerships will become the youth culture trust and, if that is correct, how the work of Creative Partnerships will change as it becomes the youth culture trust?
We have to work our way through that issue. We certainly think that the youth culture trust ought to be a non-departmental public body, which takes responsibility for supporting the delivery of these programmes in schools, in the same way as the Youth Sport Trust is successfully doing for sport. The creative partnerships are very different. They have evolved in different ways throughout the country and some of them take a different approach in the work that they do, understanding creativity in a rather wider context, as a skill that they want to build into the curriculum. We do not want to lose that work, because it has been very valuable, particularly with disadvantaged children and children who may have been alienated from school. We just have to work it through. The creative partnerships budget is separate—it is £120 million or £130 million—but we want the youth culture trust to take responsibility for this. I accept the issue raised by Mr. Vaizey. We have not yet found the full answer to it.
Following on from the "Find Your Talent" programme—I am glad hon. Members on both sides of the Chamber think that it is a good idea—we have to ensure that career choices are got right. We talk about that in our paper. One initiative being developed is the "Creative Choices" website, which Creative & Cultural Skills, the sector skills council, is about to launch. We know from all the work that we have done that getting that career advice is imperative.
I have talked about ensuring that the skill sets of graduates match the needs of industries. We are hoping that the university of Brighton can do a piece of work for us to map the competences that come out of current degree provision and to find out whether we can work with our higher education institutions, the conservatoires and others to ensure that they are giving an appropriate and relevant offer that will enable individuals to exploit that learning and experience in the world of work.
We all know that the biggest barrier to the UK's success in respect of jobs is the problem that we have in relation to skills. That was highlighted in the Leitch review of skills in the UK. There is a huge ambition throughout government to grow the number of apprenticeships to 500,000 by 2020. We want to play our part in that with the creative industries, and we have set ourselves an ambitious target of having 5,000 apprenticeships a year up and running by, I think, 2018. That is very important. We have talked to employers across all sectors who have welcomed that. Indeed, I have talked to a number of computer games employers who are already taking part in the pilots for those apprenticeships. If we want to meet the diversity challenge that we have in the creative industry sector with more opportunities for under-represented groups, the apprenticeships will help us to do that.
I come now to research and innovation. Four out of five creative firms are what are known as active innovators—innovation is at the heart of what they do. The way in which the industry works is changing fast. In the past, Government support for innovation has focused on work that leads to the establishment of patents, and I think that insufficient recognition has been given to the importance of the effort that leads to the development of a copyright. Computer games are the classic example that springs to mind.
We have achieved and committed ourselves to important innovations. First, the Technology Strategy Board will provide £10 million for new and collaborative research and development, with a package of measures specifically to engage small creative firms. The focus will be on the underlying technology challenges and opportunities facing the sector.
Secondly, last week, with the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, I launched a £3 million creative innovators growth programme, which will be focused on bringing existing businesses through to that high growth status. The initiative that I launched involved the film industry, but NESTA is considering other sectors, too. That will involve examining new business models and how they can succeed. That is an important initiative.
Thirdly, we hope that a knowledge transfer network will shortly be up and running. That will provide an opportunity for businesses to interact with one another and with the universities sector, so that we can bring together all the expertise to try to deal with some of the challenges that they face.
Fourthly, the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills announced in its innovation strategy that it will commission research better to quantify the economic benefits of the creative industries, with special attention to the value added by innovation in those industries. I hope that that series of recommendations in the paper will allow us to unlock stronger research.
We also talk about the role that we can have in supporting businesses. This is an interesting part of the document that hon. Members may want to talk about. We have always said that the Arts Council's primary aim is to support artistic excellence—that has been confirmed by the Brian McMaster review—but public funding for the arts can be a powerful stimulus for the creative industries, not only because of the skills that it develops, but because of the networking spaces that are provided. Quite often, it can underwrite risk that the financial markets would not be willing to accept. We have therefore asked Arts Council England and other bodies to take account of the objectives of the creative economy programme in their corporate plans and strategies.
I am grateful to the Minister for being generous in giving way. I particularly applaud what she has just said. She will not be aware of this, but three years ago, I arranged a meeting of the Arts Council and the UK Film Council to ask them which of those two bodies had responsibility for the creative industries. Both denied that they had a key responsibility. There is an urgent need to have detailed discussions with all the lottery distributors about where their responsibility lies in respect of the creative industries. I am glad that the Minister is having those discussions.
The hon. Gentleman and I agree about that. We have to get the balance right, so that it is not seen as us in any way undermining the excellence that we want those organisations to fund in the creative sector.
I am not sure that I share the enthusiasm of Mr. Foster. Perhaps he wants to copy the Scottish model, which has elided the Scottish Arts Council and the Scottish Film Council into Creative Scotland. It seems extraordinary in a such paper that the Minister could simply hand over responsibility for the creative industries to the Arts Council without a wider debate. Is it not time to have a proper debate about the role of the Arts Council now that it is 60 years old?
Let me correct the hon. Gentleman: I am not handing over the role of sponsoring the creative industries to the Arts Council. I am saying that there is a synergy between the creativity that comes out of the funding in the Arts Council and the development of successful businesses in the creative industries sector. The Arts Council has come very successfully through a radical funding round—I applaud the way in which, on the whole, that has been managed—and it will clearly be taking time to reflect on how it makes progress. No doubt, the hon. Gentleman, I and other hon. Members will be engaged in discussions with it on its role in a fast-changing world.
Our enterprise capital funds are supposed to meet the gap in the equity market, which is a particular issue for the creative industry sector. The Chancellor announced an extra £150 million in three further rounds to establish more capital funds. I am really pleased that the UK Film Council will be submitting a bid in that round.
I will now touch on intellectual property, which is of key concern to the creative sector. To support those industries and others, we need a balanced IP framework, which is relevant to today's world. We need to encourage businesses to develop new business models—only they can do so—that recognise and exploit the changes in technology. We also need the right tools to tackle IP crime, and we should continue to improve the education and understanding of IP. We should also recognise that, with changes in technology, there is a massive democratisation of information, which is hugely powerful to the industry and to society. So we must strike a constant balance between those objectives in the public domain.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform will shortly consult on legislation that will require internet service providers and rights holders to co-operate in taking action on illegal file sharing, with a view to implementing that legislation by April 2009. That reflects a definite change of tone by the Government. Although, of course, we prefer a voluntary approach—we encourage all partners to seek one—we also have to underpin it with action if necessary. We will not hesitate to act if we need to.
The UK Intellectual Property Office has also put in place a plan of action on IP enforcement. The report mentions a range of things that it will do, including a fake-free London campaign in the run-up to 2012, a national centre of excellence on tackling IP crime, the establishment of a forum between Ministers and industry to keep the issues under review and voluntary enforcement funds to try to get more action on behalf of the police.
The Minister will be aware that some of the biggest concerns in the manufacturing sector are to do with patents and intellectual property rights and their breach in China, which is an important trading partner for the century ahead. She also refers to the 2012 Olympics. Clearly, an opportunity exists over the next four years to firm up relationships between our two capital cities. As the Minister refers to democratisation, what action will the Government take to ensure that we put intellectual property rights into some sort of framework? Will that be left to the companies that wish to ensure that their creative industry product is seen in China? Or will the Government consider working with the Chinese Government to put in place protocols to ensure, as far as possible, that our creative industry does not lose out because intellectual property rights are largely ignored in that part of the world?
About 18 months ago, in my previous role as Minister at the old Department of Trade and Industry, I met Chinese Government officials and Minsters in China to discuss having a proper intellectual property rights regime. It was one of the key areas of debate and discussion. I am sure that my successors are continuing those particular debates. For me, getting internet service providers to manage their information properly is the best thing that we can do in the UK to protect the intellectual property rights of individuals. Beyond that, the way forward has to be through diplomatic negotiations and using the World Trade Organisation when that is appropriate as well.
We are also considering how to do a better job in educating people in IP rights and IP frameworks. I do not know whether we will incorporate that issue in the new diplomas that are emerging or in the review of the primary curriculum.
Before the Minister leaves the subject of intellectual property, may I, as chair of the all-party parliamentary group on intellectual property, thank her for her recognition of how serious a problem this is, particularly in the digital age? Does she agree that perhaps the Government should look at the resourcing of trading standards officers in local authorities to see whether their role can be strengthened in some way?
I was pleased that we were able to find an initial sum of money to support the implementation of section 107A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as that has allowed the regime to start that work rolling. Our thinking now, subject to further negotiations, is to get industry to put in a bit of money to support the effort that we want the police and the officers in local authorities to undertake. My hon. Friend is right; the more resources that we have, the more successful we will be in that regard.
I want to talk a little about the roles of regional development agencies and local government in the creative industry sector. We know that the sector works best in clusters. We propose to pilot the development of a regional creative economy strategic framework—thinking about such industries in the region—both in the north-west and south-west. If those frameworks are successful as a mechanism for the regional development agencies to intervene and support the creative economy at regional level, we will try to roll it out across the country. We are working with the Local Government Association to develop advice for local authorities on how to improve their creative infrastructure, and that will include advice on things such as providing suitable business space, developing links with universities and colleges, and encouraging networking and local networks.
I turn to our international work. The UK is at the forefront of the world's creative economy. An OECD study showed that we have a higher percentage of our economy working with creative industries than any other country in the OECD family. A large part of that strength is down to our reputation for creativity and innovation. As incomes and aspirations rise in developing countries, there should be more opportunities for British companies to work abroad. However, we have to maintain that advantage and ensure that London and Britain continue to be seen as the best places to trade.
I am, therefore, pleased that UK Trade and Investment agreed a five-year strategy—we have put it into our document—to look at our international competitive position. The strategy has three themes: developing stronger messaging, which resonates with overseas buyers; ensuring promotional activities; and encouraging other new initiatives in target markets. We want to combine two of the UK's and London's key strengths in the creative industries and financial services to initiate what we have called a world creative business conference, which we want to become a regular feature in the calendar and which we aspire to have the same status as the Davos World Economic Forum. That would cement the UK as the world's creative hub and help to develop the ongoing and important dialogue between the creative and the financial sector, which is very important to get equity into the creative industries. The creative industries are extremely fast moving. They have changed massively in the past five years, and I have no doubt that they will change massively in the next five, which is why we have said that this is the next phase in an ongoing programme.
I want to establish a mechanism in which I can have a continuing and regular dialogue with industry representatives and other important stakeholders, so that they have an effective voice in shaping our agenda and programme as we move forward. Their contribution so far has been a major factor in the success of the creative economy programme. I hope that all parts of the industry will continue to engage with the Government.
The document "Creative Britain: New Talents for the New Economy" is the summation of nearly three years of work. It could not possibly articulate all the issues that we have investigated, debated and discussed; similarly, we could not discuss all the issues within the document now in this debate. I hope that I have given the Chamber a good taste of the challenges that face the creative industry, and I look forward to the contributions of other hon. Members.
I very much welcome the fact that we are debating the creative industries. The Minister gave us some statistics showing that their importance to the economy is growing, and I think that we all recognise that. Our manufacturing industry has slowly disappeared eastwards and has been followed by our service industries, which are now run from call centres in Bangalore or administered by migrant workers in this country. The one thing that we are left with that we are extremely good at is the creative industries, so it is extremely important that we give them every support.
There are many things in the documents that I welcome. The "Find Your Talent" programme certainly has a worthy objective, although I am little sceptical about it, given the figures that Mr. Foster mentioned that show what the programme actually amounts to in financial terms, and given that already hard-pressed teachers will have to squeeze the programme into the school day. None the less, the objective is a noble one, and other measures, such as the growth in apprenticeships and the investment in research, are also admirable.
I shall, however, focus on one key issue. In supporting the creative industries, the Government have a fundamental role to play in respect of copyright, because that is the one thing that only they can enforce. Without copyright, the creative industries cannot survive, because they depend on being able to achieve a return on the creation of intellectual property.
Copyright enforcement has always been a challenge. A long time ago, I started life as a special adviser at the then Department of Trade and Industry; I remember the debates that took place about whether we should introduce a levy on blank digital cassette tapes. I could see why they were a problem because, as a teenager, I had always tuned into the top 20 on a Sunday evening, with my cassette tape recorder poised to record—
Indeed—and others. I did not realise at the time that what I was doing was illegal, and certainly not that it was doing such damage to the music industry. Although the music industry did not like blank tape copying, however, it accepted it, because the results were not particularly high quality and the DJ usually interrupted halfway through, so the recordings were not really a substitute for buying an album.
The problem now is that digitisation means that the quality of the music recording, which can be made available in digital format and easily pirated, is no different from that of a CD. Such recordings represent a far greater challenge because the quality has increased so dramatically and because of online distribution. Of course, online distribution is not the only problem; there has always been a problem of physical piracy. Indeed, the day before yesterday, I spent a couple of hours with film piracy unit of the Metropolitan police, whose officers were talking about the continuing problem of pirated DVDs and, to some extent, CDs, which are churned out in garages up and down the country by server towers that can produce 40 or 50 discs at a time. A lot of that is done by Chinese immigrants who have been trafficked into the country and who are then required to repay those who brought them here by undertaking criminal activity, which very often involves piracy.
That type of piracy is a challenge, but it is online piracy that is growing rapidly and that poses an even bigger threat. It is obviously important to update the law to take account of that threat. The Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport has looked at the challenges posed by new media to the creative industries, and we feel that the law is lagging behind. To give a specific example, almost every teenager—indeed, probably the vast majority of the population—owns an iPod, and such devices are becoming the preferred method of listening to music. However, it is still technically a breach of copyright for me to purchase a CD in a shop, take it home and put it on to my iPod, which is plainly ridiculous.
The record industry will say, "Well, of course, we never dreamed that anybody would try to enforce that provision," but the fact that copyright law has not taken account of format shifting and the way in which people now listen to music and, increasingly, watch video content, brings the law into disrepute to some extent. It is difficult to tell young people that one bit of copyright law is really important and that they must obey it, but that another bit does not matter too much so they can ignore it. I therefore welcome the discussions on putting in place a private copying exception. The industry has some concerns about it, and that exception will need to be narrowly drawn, but we need to amend the law so that home use is made legal and acceptable.
As the Minister said, the industry will also need to take account of consumer behaviour regarding online distribution when it develops new business models. The record industry was very slow in responding to online distribution. It started off by saying, "This is awful—it will be the end of the world. We must stop it." Latterly, it has accepted that online distribution could create whole new markets and that it is an opportunity, and legal downloads are now growing. We are seeing a gradual shift, whereby more and more music is being made available online very cheaply, and quite often for a single payment that gives access to a huge library of music. That will probably result in a decline in revenue streams, but there is an acceptance of the inevitable and of the fact that it is better to get some revenue than none at all, which is the consequence of illegal distribution. Another consequence of the shift may be that live music performance becomes more important and that it will represent a bigger return for artists, which I would also welcome.
The industry is waking up to the problem, but that problem is growing exponentially. In the past four years, the record industry has seen a 20 per cent. drop in its revenues, in large part due to piracy. The Minister mentioned the estimated £480 million loss by the TV and video industry in 2006. One survey in November 2007 revealed that 10 per cent. of the population had either home-copied a DVD or bought a counterfeit DVD, that 16 per cent. had illegally downloaded, streamed or burned discs and that 23 per cent. had borrowed and copied a disc, which, technically, is also illegal.
No, indeed—the hon. Gentleman is quite right. However, a huge amount of illegal activity is being undertaken by a large proportion of the population.
I have a 14-year-old son and he has a laptop. He and his friends share films on it. On his laptop at the moment, he has a number of films that are on show in the Odeon now; they are not on DVD because they have not yet been legally released. However, he has—against my wishes and, indeed, with my strong disapproval—downloaded those films from sites such as The Pirate Bay. My son has also told me how one of his friends at school will buy a computer game, which the students then crack, and it goes around the entire school. Every single laptop will have that game on it, and everyone will be playing it, but there will have been only one purchase.
May I ask the hon. Gentleman to advise his son that I had a meeting earlier today with the Internet Service Providers Association, which told me of the trial that it is about to start to identify his son and people like him and to take out criminal proceedings against them? I ask the hon. Gentleman to warn his son that that is about to happen. I, for one, welcome the action.
I shall certainly convey that warning. I have to tell the hon. Gentleman that I have done my best already, but the real problem is that it is not a small number of people who are doing this—it is the vast majority of the teenage population. We cannot lock up every teenager in the country.
Leaving aside the possibility of my hon. Friend turning himself and his son in at the end of the debate, there is a serious point. I cannot imagine my hon. Friend getting up and happily telling hon. Members, "My son goes shoplifting every day." However, he is happy to tell us that his son downloads films from pirate websites. Does that not illustrate graphically the gulf in public opinion on stealing a physical object from a shop and stealing intellectual property, and the huge journey that still has to be made?
My hon. Friend anticipates precisely the point that I was coming to. He is of course entirely right. Young people do not see that there is anything wrong with the practice. They have grown up with it and they see it as perfectly normal behaviour. I have attempted to make the comparison with shoplifting that my hon. Friend made, but I have not been wholly successful. I shall continue to make the case because I strongly believe that the practice in question is theft, but it is an enormous challenge.
I welcome what the Minister said about greater education and the attempts that are being made to get the message across. British Music Rights, for example, has worked to introduce material into the curriculum to increase understanding of copyright. Such efforts are important, but, to return to a point I made earlier, the industry will just have to accept that behaviour is changing and will have to adapt its business models to take account of that fact. Something like a single payment subscription to an iTunes library, which would give access to a huge range of material, would be a far more productive way of addressing the problem. I simply do not think that we shall persuade people that the old business models are sustainable and that they must change their behaviour. Education is hugely important.
Does my Friend accept, following the exchange between him and my hon. Friend Mr. Vaizey, that although there is no sense that the behaviour in question is wrongdoing or theft in the way that shoplifting is theft, one way in which Government, Parliament and the industry might appeal to young people is to make the case that he made in his earlier comments: that much piracy funds misery in the developing world and is part and parcel of people trafficking, drug running and the like? It is an area of business that is often in the hands of large-scale wrongdoers, who use the proceeds to cross-fertilise other aspects of their criminal activity. A case should perhaps be made, in robust terms, that every time someone downloads illegally or buys a counterfeit CD, they help to bring about a hell of a lot more misery. The crime is not a victimless one.
I half agree with my hon. Friend. I think he is correct when he talks about physical product. There is a lot of evidence that the manufacture of counterfeit DVDs and CDs is being conducted by organised crime and feeds the misery that he has described. The problem with online illegal distribution is that it is free. That is why everyone does it; they get access to the material and pay nothing, so there is not any great financial motive. A famous instance is The Pirate Bay, which I think was created by two Swedish teenagers; they did it because it was fun. They did not believe in copyright, and they had the technology, so they sat in their bedroom and created The Pirate Bay. As a result, peer-to-peer file sharing is now taking place across the world. The two people in question deny responsibility and say that all they did was to create the access mechanisms. That is not so much organised crime, and in some ways it represents a bigger challenge.
There are things that the Government can do besides improving education, which is vital, and encouraging the industry to adapt its practices. Some of those actions, which I welcome, are set out in the White Paper. However, I hope that the Government will not consider hardware levies. I have not seen evidence that they are being considered by the Government, but there are some in the industry who are now talking about them, and of course they exist in one or two European countries. It seems to me that a tax on blank discs or iPods is not the way forward: it would clearly be unpopular, and it would be very difficult to work out how the proceeds of such a levy would be distributed back to the owners of rights, as some have suggested.
A small measure that could be taken, which the Select Committee recommended, and which might make a difference, concerns access to pirated films, which sometimes appear within hours of a film's release. Quite a lot of it is done by people sitting in cinemas with camcorders. When people go to the cinema they see all sorts of dire warnings on the screen about being expelled and subsequently banned from the cinema, prosecuted and fined, but the truth is that such filming is not a criminal offence. It is a civil offence. The industry has suggested that making it a criminal offence would send a strong signal, and the Select Committee supported that.
The most important element, as the Minister rightly mentioned, is to encourage the ISPs to accept that they must get involved and that they have a responsibility. For a long time, ISPs seemed to be saying, "We are no more than telecoms companies. We supply the copper down which data flow, but in the same way that British Telecom cannot be held accountable for what people say in telephone conversations, we cannot be held accountable for how people use our delivery mechanisms." That is now changing, and the Government are right to express the hope that a self-regulatory system can be created.
This morning, while the hon. Member for Bath was meeting the Internet Service Providers Association, I was meeting Yahoo! I was told that the discussions between the Music Publishers Association and the ISPs are very productive. There is a general willingness to accept that where the rights holder identifies a particular IP address as the source of a lot of material that is being uploaded, they can notify the ISP, which will identify which computer, if not which user, is responsible and serve a notice of warning that if the activity continues, they will be taken down. That is a real step forward and represents a change of attitude in the industry. I hope that others will join that move—for example, I think there is a role for search engines to play in trying to make it far harder for people to find out how to access illegal material.
We can be optimistic about such measures being introduced. I am told that in America the ISPs are discovering that the amount of video content that is being distributed is taking up a vast amount of bandwidth and slowing down the whole system. They know that the majority of that activity is illegal. Tackling the problem is therefore becoming something that is in the ISPs' interests. That may explain why they have suddenly become rather more enthusiastic about doing so.
I will finish on the issue of copyright extension, which was raised by the hon. Member for Bath and will no doubt be mentioned by Pete Wishart. There has been a long-standing campaign by the music industry, which points to the fact that composers, lyricists and designers all enjoy copyright on CDs until 70 years after their deaths, whereas the producers and performers have only a 50-year term. That is unfair.
The Gowers report suggested that the extension of copyright term might not produce much economic benefit. That has been questioned by the industry, as I mentioned earlier, but, at the end of the day, that does not seem to me to be the point at all. It is not about whether extension will generate more economic activity, but about morals and rights. Why should somebody who creates a work be allowed to benefit from it for only 50 years? Other countries across the world have far longer terms. The case for moving in that direction is very strong.
I cannot resist reading a letter that I received last year—one of the most exciting letters that I have received for a long time. It came from Mr. Eddie Clarke, also known as Fast Eddie, the lead guitarist of Motörhead. I must admit that I have seen them perform on several occasions. He wrote:
"You may think that as a rock musician I should not expect to live until 80. I can assure you I did not think this was going to happen but with modern technology and medicine, it certainly seems a possibility—even my old partner in crime Lemmy might make it.
My royalties will be my pension and something to pass on to my family, so to learn that they will be stripped away before my 80th birthday is frankly unacceptable."
I think that Fast Eddie speaks for a huge number of performers in the industry. It was for that reason that the Culture, Media and Sport Committee recommended an extension of the copyright term. We were extremely disappointed that the Government did not respond positively to that suggestion. However, things have since changed. Suddenly, out of the blue, Commissioner McCreevy saw the light and issued a statement that bears a remarkable resemblance to the wording of the Select Committee report. That may not be entirely coincidental, but the fact that the European Commission has accepted that there is a strong case for copyright term extension will, I hope, cause the Government to think again.
I welcome the Minister's comment to me at Question Time a few days ago when she said that she had an open mind. However, like those who have already contributed today, I hope that her open mind will allow her to reconsider the matter soon and to reach a firm decision. An indication that she is becoming more sympathetic to our case—I am sure that other hon. Members will express support for it—would be a welcome and major contribution to supporting the creative industries.
It is a pleasure to have you in Chair for the first time ever, Mr. Weir. I thought that Westminster Hall would be Havana Hall this afternoon and that I would be able to speak for two and half hours without interruption. However, much has already been said by others, and I do not wish to repeat it. The subject is important and I should like to accentuate one or two points that have not been made so far.
There is, as the Minister pointed out, a link between the creative industries and the economy that is becoming ever more important. As the country's financial services wobble—some of them might disappear—it is important to prevent similar problems in the creative industries and ensure that they continue. Our higher education facilities and universities are full of creativity—creation, too, in the odd academy—and innovation is rampant in most of our universities. There are problems, however, which have been highlighted by Mr. Will Hutton, whom the Minister mentioned.
The creative industries produce many millions of jobs and attendant jobs among people who help them to expand through exports and so on. I do not want to talk about the difference between innovation and creativity—we could have a great debate about that but, to me, they are mutually dependent: a bit of both goes into the production of any particular product. However, we are not getting enough from the higher education facilities in this country. Oxford and Cambridge are at the epicentre and have shown the way forward, and other places are catching up, but we are missing out on a lot of the creativity and bright ideas that flow in those places. As Lambert pointed out, business links with universities are pretty weak. We all know that they must happen, but nobody has come forward and told us how to make them happen or how to pick up ideas and turn them into products.
Hutton says that intellectual property from the UK university sector generated only £31 million in a sector valued at more than £10 billion, so there is a lot to do. Morgan Cole, a law firm, said that 90 per cent. universities still prefer to publish their ideas to boost their research standing in the academic realm rather than apply for patents. As Hutton says—I agree—that results in an enormous opportunity to make money from university research being forgone. The link with the economy is found in spin-out companies, which continue to be a great success in Oxford and Cambridge and elsewhere because of the creative, innovative, bright and sparky people that gravitate to those firms. We need to put business profits back into the academic heartland.
I was going to say "in full flow"—I hope that the hon. Gentleman is not winding-up.
The hon. Gentleman talks about our two ancient universities, but it is fair to say that a number of other institutions do extremely well in that regard such as—I say this with a parochial interest in mind—Imperial college, which is in my constituency. It has been at the forefront of the commercial exploitation of many of its own ideas, which I hope will be a precursor to many other universities, old and new, doing the same.
I apologise to the hon. Gentleman. Of course Imperial, Manchester, Newcastle, Dundee, Edinburgh and other places have little pockets, but still, I think, universities concentrate on their academic work. I am not talking about Imperial, which has engineering and such like, but other universities in this country concentrate too much on the academic side. They have to do that, but they do it too much, and they miss a lot of opportunities.
As Hutton says:
"British business is full of complaint and seems only interested in tax breaks, avoidance and evasion. Now has come the time for it to start writing some cheques instead, to put its money and effort where its mouth is".
We need some kind of interaction, which I think can come only from political endeavour. Business should pay partly for universities and higher education colleges because that is where the innovation and creativity come from, and it should pay for the students who end up working for companies. In America, when new students go to a city such as Philadelphia, it is not simply left to the university to entertain and talk to them; instead, the city's community and commercial sector goes to talk to them to help in the recruitment process. From the beginning, students get the feeling that they have not gone to the city only to get degrees or to do all the other things that undergraduates do excitedly. They get the feeling that they will have jobs in the city if they wish. It is important to get such a culture going, but we have a long way to go.
I could try again to get top-up fees abolished—[Interruption.] I have not changed my mind on the matter—the Minister and I engaged in many debates on the issue in front of television cameras and so on. However, if business takes its responsibilities seriously, a lot of the hardship that has been generated by top-up fees for many students—working class students might not get in, but that is still to be shown—we would form a new kind of culture that brought lots more bright people into the higher education sector.
I also want to talk very briefly about the creative writing industry, which I know a lot about. At the university of East Anglia in Norwich, a friend of mine—sadly, he is no longer with us—Malcolm Bradbury set up a creative writing course. We arrived at the university at the same time: I was at one end of the campus, he at the other; I was doing boring, nerdy science, and he was doing exciting things with creative writing. Books such as "Eating People is Wrong" and "The History Man" came out of a bright idea from the bright young man who set the course up. That creative writers group produced Ian McEwan, Anne Enright, who won the Man Booker prize this year—McEwan has won it before—and Ishiguro. Talented people were attracted into a small department where they got the help and education to form them into a creative writing force.
Writing, be it books, pamphlets or whatever, is very important in our culture and in our lives. Interestingly, "Atonement", Ian McEwan's recent book, is about Oxford and Cambridge. I have had sharp words with him because he could write about a more provincial university than Oxford or Cambridge, but that is Ian. Throughout the whole of England, there is great potential for creativity in writing and music, about which we will hear more, and in science and mathematics. The fashion and clothing industry has also been mentioned. There is great creativity waiting to be used in many industries.
I do not wish to talk about Trevor Bayliss and his clockwork radio, because people who have never been to university invent and produce important things because their brain is ticking and because the receive support. It was not easy to get support for the clockwork radio, which is so important in the developing world, but it happened. He now argues for a bachelor of invention degree.
We heard a little about intellectual property and the primary curriculum review. That will be important. People do not have a clue what intellectual property really is. I know about it because I have had an insect named after me, so I have a really important patent. That is the first time that I have confessed that. It has been no use to me and I am not a multimillionaire. When people discover things, they go immediately to get patents. I did so because I was told to. A patent lawyer who moved in university circles told me that I must go and get a patent. I would be surprised if anything is named after Mr. Vaizey.
Well, it is a kind of ant. Now there is a confession for you.
Publishers and others should encourage young people to discover new ants, or whatever it is that might some day be useful in an experiment. Of course, at the other end, there is the drug industry with its patents, intellectual property rights and so on. The system seems to work. It generates a field where one can act to prevent other people from using the product of one's own endeavours. I think that the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, created by the Prime Minister, will tackle a lot of the problems that I am talking about.
Patents are important. We judge the success of industries, universities and higher education centres by the number of patents they hold. It is a crude measure of success. I do not see why copyrights could not also be a crude measure of success in certain industries. It ought to be done much more avidly than it is.
We need to think not just about music when considering the problems of downloading. We need to think about the kinds of problem addressed by the new all-party writers' group that we have set up. People's writing is being exploited. An article that appeared in the Evening Standardappears in the Hong Kong Times under the same name, but nobody has been asked for permission to print it, and they certainly do not get paid for it. One might ask why they should be, to which the answer is: they should be paid for it because writing is their only source of income.
I spoke the other day to Maureen Freely, the famous president of the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society in this country. She is eminent and well known. When she writes a book, she gets £1,000 laid on the table, just like that. We talk about the minimum wage, but such a book takes her three years to produce, and she gets £1,000 from the publishers. That is not a problem for J.K. Rowling, Peter Mandelson, ex-Prime Ministers and such people, who get big money, but it is a problem for the majority of writers in this country whose products people enjoy.
We are moving into an age in which books, too, can be downloaded on to digital devices. I am not sure how many books can stored, but I think that somebody told me it was 30,000. There is nothing like curling up with a book. I am sure that the Minister enjoys it as much as the rest of us, but there is now the opportunity to read them on a digital screen. It may not be as cuddly, but it is certainly there, and it exploits a lot of the work that writers do. That is a problem.
We will hear more about the music industry. The all-party writers' group is supported by the ALCS, many of whose surveys have turned up interesting facts about public attitudes to copyright. Most people surveyed believe that artists should be recompensed for their work rather than having it purloined. They believe that a reasonable sum should be given them, because that is their sole income. As I have pointed out, many are not as successful as Ian Rankin, J.K. Rowling and so on. There is always a spread. Downloading can happen with the written word as well, and I think that it will increase.
That is another issue, of course. The ALCS owes the Prime Minister £60 for a book that he produced, and we are hoping to be able to present him with a cheque at an event here in the House of Commons in a few months' time. The hon. Gentleman has a point, but that comes from diminishing the amount of money that writers get from library loans and so on. Maybe we can persuade the Prime Minister that it would have been £160 if the Government had not reduced the amount of money that writers get from book borrowing from libraries.
Although we have given a tough settlement this year—Mr. Vaizey is correct in saying that—does my hon. Friend agree that we have increased the amount of money that an author can get per copy in the past five years? I think that it has more than doubled. That is a massive increase, and it shows the support that we give writers, unlike the Conservatives, who never did anything but cut, cut, cut every year.
I am not into sectarian violence in Havana Hall this afternoon, that is for sure. However, the point is well made. We have recognised the problem and produced a solution. Many people may find it a little severe, but I am sure that we can do something about it to encourage younger people starting their careers by giving them some recompense for the work that they produce.
We have heard about education. As always, it is half the battle. The DCMS report says that intellectual property rights are poorly understood, and the point has been made that many of the public love a bit of piracy here and there, as they are getting something for free. A large percentage of consumers have looked at pirated video content, and one cannot go to a cinema now without being extolled to report anybody who is holding up a camera and trying to record the film being shown.
Teenagers realise that they can download things for free instead of having to use their parents' credit card, which is the alternative. That that is illegal should be inculcated in them through the education system. Adults will download free books, so it is not just teenagers; adults will do it too if it is easy enough. Free music and free books may someday mean no music and no books. People may find it difficult to continue to produce if piracy continues to happen. DCMS says that reducing software piracy would generate 30,000 jobs and £11 billion into the official economy, so it is worth doing.
Another recommendation that we have heard about relates to the Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property Policy. The board is doing fine, although its predecessor had a few problems—basically, it did not have people who knew what they were talking about. Feargal Sharkey of British Music Rights made that point:
"If the Board on IP wants to contribute to Government thinking on Intellectual Property in a meaningful way, it has to involve people who make their living from their creativity and hence, understand the true value of copyright."
Everyone here will have read the magnificent report from the Select Committee on Innovation, Universities and Skills, which I chair, "The Work and Operation of the Copyright Tribunal". The Copyright Tribunal is basically one man and a dozen different types of lawyer. That one man runs it in his spare time. He sits around trying to unravel copyright disputes between the people who made a work and the people who use it, who may think that the fine imposed on them is too high. Members might be interested to know that even undertakers appear before the tribunal for having downloaded music to use during ceremonies. It is a strange organisation, and the Select Committee makes some stringent comments about it and what might be done to improve it, not the least of which is that we cannot have one senior QC running it in his spare time.
One case cost £12 million to resolve. That makes it difficult for the small person who cannot get into that kind of network or a game involving forensic lawyers and lawyers of other dimensions. It is not possible. We must have some new copyright tribunal system, so that when disputes arise—hopefully we can eliminate many of them by other mechanisms; we have heard about some of what is going on with the internet—writers as well as people from the musical world have a fair shot. Orphan works whose source is hard to trace are another problem. The cost of cases needs to be cut and the administration of the tribunal needs to be overhauled.
This is an exciting time when, for once, we will be looking seriously at creativity. There will always be problems, but copyright is a problem that has been around for a long time. I do not have immediate solutions to it in terms of catching and punishing those who abuse it. We do so a lot through Home Office functions and so on, if people are downloading information. We need to consider whether we want to give people credit for the work that they produce and pay for it in some way. Both writers and musicians in this country have been undervalued for years and years.
I am so pleased that people interested in intellectual property are now calling meetings, including in this House. The Westminster Forum too will be holding one. So something is stirring. I think that Parliament, Ministers and Departments now need to get stuck in and help creativity. The industries will not survive or hit their potential unless we allow the people involved the right to get paid and to own their work. That is the way to encourage many more people into the industry.
I am continually amazed by the talent in this small island—it seems endless. I just wonder how much we fail it sometimes with the kind of structures that we set up and the laws that we put in place. How many people get turned off and say, "Well, there is no living to be made out of this, so I might as well do something else."? There is a problem in higher education and if we do not watch out, we will lose much of that creativity.
It is a pleasure to see you in the Chair, Mr. Weir. I would like to refer to my entry in the Register of Members' Interests. We are hoping that MP4's greatest hits, when it goes triple platinum, will also be put on the list, but that is probably a good while off.
The debate has been a long time coming. I cannot believe that, in the seven years that I have been in the House, we have not had a general debate about the creative industries. That is a total and utter surprise, given that the creative industries will probably overtake financial services as a major growth area of our economy. As the Minister said, there is £60 billion-worth of turnover and 1.9 million people work in the creative industries. Yet here we are, in the graveyard slot of Westminster Hall on a Thursday afternoon—the only time that we could secure for a debate on this really important part of our economy.
The Minister alluded to the fact that the UK's creative industries do particularly well. International comparators are always difficult in the creative industries, but the OECD found that, compared with countries such as France, Australia, Canada and even the United States, the UK comes out top in terms of its contribution. Exports are huge—4.5 per cent. of our export turnover is in the creative industries sector. It is a massive industry. I would have thought that the Government would want to crow about that. It is a huge UK success story. I do not think that anybody in the Chamber would disagree with the fact that we are incredible innovators; it is something that this country does well. I would have thought that they would want debates every week on the subject. Yet here we are on a Thursday afternoon in Westminster Hall. Nevertheless, I welcome this important opportunity to debate the subject.
The term "creative industries" probably did not even exist 20 years ago. There was a creative sector, in which all the activities went on, but the idea that it could come together and be streamlined was way off. Even 10 years ago, we would have found it difficult to think about strategies for the creative industries. Five years ago, who would have imagined that we would be talking about the creative industries being an engine for urban Britain, which is alluded to in the Government's strategy paper? We are where we are, and it is enormously important that we get things right.
The creative industries are in pretty good, robust health. However, they need to be sensitively handled. They are fragile industries and things could so easily go badly wrong. We saw that with the dotcom companies and a number of new technologies and media organisations. We must be careful in applying policies to the creative industries. They must be applied sensitively, with due care and attention and always in consultation with the industries.
We must be aware that there is always a healthy tension between the creators and artists, and the idea of industry. I welcome that. It is a good debate that we should kick about and explore a little—where that energy, dynamism, talent and artistry start and how the idea of business and industry fits in on top of that. It is important that we acknowledge and consider that when looking at the strategies and policies required for the development of our creative industries.
I am a little disappointed about how the Government look after our creative industries. What disappoints me more than anything else is that things seem to be haphazardly organised. For example, it is unfortunate that responsibility is split across a number of Departments. In the Select Committee report from Mr. Whittingdale, a number of stakeholders mentioned that we need more co-ordination within the Government when looking after the creative industries. It is not good enough that things such as intellectual property and copyright remain with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, but that cultural and artistic responsibilities reside with the Minister and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
What might be even more disappointing is the fact that the Treasury likes to stick its oar in occasionally. We must remember that the Andrew Gowers review on intellectual property was Treasury-driven and reported back during the Budget. I happen to think that that is not the best way to look after such an important sector of our economy in need of such care and attention. I humbly suggest that we appoint a dedicated creative industries Minister, who could work across Departments and ensure that there is co-ordination and that the right thing is done to look after this very important sector.
I do not know what to make of the Government's strategy. Do not get me wrong: there are lots of good things in it. It is a good start to trying to bring together such diverse and divergent industries. I welcome the ambition to make the UK the creative hub of the world. In fact, we are probably that already, although it is not down to anything that this or previous Governments have done; it is just something that we do well. I understand the ambition, although I think that we will need a little more than £70 million of investment if we are serious about meeting it.
A number of policy announcements seem to rehash things that have been said before. However, there is a lot of good stuff in the strategy. In particular, I welcome the measures for tackling internet crime and piracy, and we heard several significant and worthwhile contributions on that. I do not think that the problem will be resolved with a voluntary code. There is no chance of that happening, so I think that legislation will be required to tackle the problem. Again, it is critical that we get that right, particularly for our film and music industries.
The hon. Gentleman might be right that a voluntary approach will not work, but does he not at least applaud the fantastic work being done—rather belatedly—to develop such procedures? Is he aware that Apple is negotiating the possibility of a £10 top-up on the price of an iPod, which is the biggest downloading device, and free downloading, which could solve the problem overnight?
I recognise the efforts being made, although I am not sure that I would support Apple's intention of putting a surplus on the cost of an iPod. That needs proper consideration. However, there are a number of initiatives and endeavours by internet service providers to tackle the problem. I get frustrated when I hear some of the public announcements by those ISPs that will do all that they can to thwart such efforts. They do not seem to be interested in engaging with the debate and tackling the problem.
I think that the Minister will have to legislate to get things right. I hope that, when legislation comes, we will also address the Whittingdale Junior issue—let us call it that. We must seriously and clearly get the message across that that is real crime. Stealing someone's intellectual property is as serious and significant as stealing someone's toaster, video or car. Even though it does not exist in a physical reality, it is still a crime. In framing legislation, we could have that debate and challenge such assumptions.
It is not easy for the Government, and I recognise the Minister's difficulties. How do we properly legislate for creativity? At its heart and engine are imagination and talent. We must approach those things in the right way in our strategies. We would not have the creative industries without the musicians, authors, writers and inventors. It is impossible to conceive of the creative industries without them, so they should be at the heart of policy thinking and the first to be consulted when the Government develop strategies and approaches. It is unfortunate that sometimes they are the last people to whom we turn when looking at such issues.
It will not surprise the Chamber if I turn my attention exclusively to the music industry, which is particularly close to my heart and about which I have a few things to say. We must acknowledge what a success story the UK music industry is; it has decades of unparalleled success. The UK music industry has dominated charts on both sides of the Atlantic and worldwide. Again, it is something that we do spectacularly well. We must do all that we can to ensure that it retains its predominant status in the world. Everyone has their favourites, but there is something about the way in which we produce and look after artists that ensures that we have such fantastic products. That is very important and valuable to the way in which we look after the music industry.
The music industry is more than just general economics, the bands and the artists; music gives added value to all the creative industries, and even to the general economy. When people are asked why they have broadband access, for example, they say that it is to ensure that they can get the music downloads they want. That is one reason why people get involved in new media in the first place, and that is what the music industry can add to all those areas. The music industry, possibly more than any other creative industry, is a particularly fragile instrument and organisation. It exists on the front line of digital and technological innovation, and all the time it has to watch its back for pirates and all the other technological innovators who are doing all they can to ensure that they get something for nothing from the music industry. We must be ever-vigilant to ensure that the music industry is protected, and that is why I welcome the Minister's strong words today to ensure that such people will be tackled.
The UK music industry needs our support, and I hope that the Government recognise its contribution and its critical role on the front line of technological and digital innovation, and that they will work with the industry to ensure that it is protected from such things. We must do more to ensure that we respect our artists and performers. I shall come on to term extension, but beyond that, it is important to ensure that our artists and performers are properly respected, acknowledged and rewarded for the work that they secure and achieve.
There is a fortune to be made in the music industry, and we all know about rich pop stars. I was listening to the Paul McCartney divorce trial—was he worth £200 million or £800 million? It does not really matter to me; all I can say is that it is a hell of a lot of money. In the 15 years that I spent in the music industry, I met many more poor musicians than rich, and the Musicians Union reckons that the majority of musicians live on less than £15,000 a year. There is no such thing as a minimum wage for a jobbing and aspiring musician; it is tough out there and these are really tough times for musicians. When they get that break—that one hit single, which is played throughout the years and the decades—it must be right to ensure that they are properly rewarded for that contribution and do not have it taken away in their old age. It is absurd and silly that musicians and performers alone, among all artists, creators and performers, are subject to that unique discrimination. Why should authors, writers and all those other people who make such creative pieces of work be rewarded with lifetime plus 70 years, but musicians lose that reward after 50 years?
The situation is becoming critical. The late '50s and early '60s saw the first explosion of British music, when Cliff arrived, the Beatles were at the vanguard and Merseybeat dominated music, but their work is reaching the 50 years copyright cut off. At the launch of my private Member's Bill, I met Lonnie Donegan's widow, and she could not believe that American artists were protected and the copyright passed to their descendants, the next generation. She is subject to that cut off and does not receive a penny from her husband's estate.
I can understand the hon. Gentleman's frustration, given Cliff Richard's great wealth, but the issue is not really about him, and sometimes it frustrates me when the argument becomes about the rich pop stars and artists whom we all like. They are mentioned, but it is not about them; it is about the guy who played bass guitar on "Move It", and the guy who played the drums on Cliff's first and second album. They will be receiving some royalties for their performance on the record, but in the next couple of years they will not receive any money for it.
Will the hon. Gentleman add to that list the artists who, if they sell a picture, sculpture or whatever, receive only a small percentage? The agent takes most of it. It is like the situation on the football field.
I am not saying that some artists, creators or whoever should not be similarly rewarded. There is a very good point to be made on that, but I am talking about the music industry. I shall give the hon. Gentleman an example and refer to a single from that period again—the early 1950s. The writers, producer and the guy who designed the sleeve of that single will all get lifetime plus 70 years; the only people who will have the copyright cut off in their old age are the people who made the recording themselves—the musicians. That is clearly absurd and unfair, and I have never heard a reason why it could possibly be right. We heard from Andrew Gowers that it was all about the impact on the economy, and we have heard that that has been disputed. Charlie McCreevy, when he examined the issue in the European Union, disputed the idea that it would have an impact on the economy; in fact, he suggested that it would have a positive impact, because through the record companies, it would reward investment and artists. It would reward the companies for sticking with artists and ensuring that their work continued to be available.
I see no reason why musicians should not be properly rewarded for what they do, so I was immensely encouraged by Commissioner McCreevy's announcement a few weeks ago. It took us all by surprise, but he has clearly considered the issue and the best interests of the artists and the industry, and concluded that the best thing to do would be to increase copyright term for musicians and performers from 50 to 95 years. I do not want the Minister just to welcome and accept that conclusion; I want her to accept it enthusiastically, if that is not asking too much. I want her to get up and say, "This is the right thing by our industry and our artists, and we will do this." There is no good reason why the Government cannot pursue it, and with all due respect to her, she will probably have to do so anyway. It is not a red-line issue for the UK, so the Government will have to get behind it, and it would be best to get behind it now and say something positive to the music industry. We are looking for any acceptance of that conclusion by the Government, and she would earn great credit if she did so. She will not be able to do so this afternoon, but she should do so soon, because she will find herself being hailed as a great friend of the UK music industry.
We are, however, a million miles from the dark days of the Gowers review, and I do not want to spend too much time looking at what he said. I accept that there were a few good suggestions, but I have mentioned that it was Treasury-driven, and unfortunately he surrounded himself with economists and barely spoke to the artists and creators. Some of the consultations and submissions to his report were fine, excellent and first class, and his failure to acknowledge them in his recommendations was disappointing. He saw copyright as belonging not to the artists and the creator, but, almost perversely, to society and the consumer, and that it should be returned to the creator and artists only as a grudging concession and a pat on the back. It was an absurd way to start, but the review was full of it, and the section on term extension very much suggested and put across that viewpoint.
Gowers got it totally wrong. The music industry thinks he got it totally wrong, most hon. Members think he got it entirely wrong, and 36,000 musicians, from the high and mighty to the most humble who signed the petition, thought he got it wrong. It is time that we put it right, and we have the opportunity to do so with Commissioner McCreevy's appointment. I hope that we can do the right thing, put that historic wrong perpetuated against musicians right, and end the discrimination against performers and artists.
I like these debates because they always tend to be consensual and we do not fall out with each other. We are all veterans of these discussions.
I have the benefit of being able to see the hon. Gentleman's notes, to which he has hardly referred, and I see that he is coming to the end of them. Since he probably knows more than anyone else in this room about music and the music industry, may I urge him before he concludes to say a word or two about live music? He has concentrated heavily on recorded music, but I know that he knows a lot about live music, too.
I am grateful for that compliment. Live music is close to my heart, and in the creative industry strategy, there is, unfortunately, little mention of live music or its value. The big issue for me in live music is ticket touting and the secondary market of the internet. "T in the Park" takes place just outside my constituency. It is the most successful European live festival and sells out in a matter of hours. However, most of it sells out to the secondary market on the internet, which, with live music, is what we should really be tackling. That is the real issue for live music, and I hope that the Government address it to ensure that music fans do not continue being ripped off.
I was about to conclude my remarks, as the hon. Gentleman noted, and I merely say that we are starting to get things right and I share the Government's ambition to make the UK a hub. Much of the strategy does not apply to Scotland, and Creative Scotland is being established in the next few months. We have our new culture Bill in Scotland, and we are doing very exciting and innovative work. However, we are interested in what is happening down here and particularly the idea of creative education. I would like to find out a bit more about that before I suggest to colleagues back in Scotland that we should be following that model. If creative education is just about taking kids to operas or museums without providing any real educational context, I do not think that there would be any great value in any of it. We must ensure that, when we are giving these experiences to children, it is set in a wider context so that real learning can be achieved.
These are good debates in Westminster Hall. We all tend to agree that this is the right thing to do and I think that we all support the creative industries. I very much hope that we can continue to develop them and I share the Minister's ambition that the UK becomes the world's hub for the creative industries.
It is a great pleasure to take part in this debate, particularly under your chairmanship, Mr. Weir, because I found out today what it is like to be sitting in the Chair with the referee's outfit on. I must say, echoing Pete Wishart, that this is clearly an immensely entertaining debate, and I have looked forward to it.
When we consider the creative industries, we hear a lot about music and entertainment. I represent Stoke-on-Trent, North, which includes the home town of Robbie Williams, and there are obviously huge issues about how we ensure that all our creative artists, whether they are recording music or performing live, are looked after, nurtured and encouraged, and how, in turn, they become the mentors for a new generation of people.
We have heard a lot from my hon. Friend Dr. Gibson about the creative writing group in the House of Commons. I must say, as an officer of the all-party group on jazz appreciation, that the issues that relate to music are really important. I hope that the copyright cut-off, which has largely been the subject of our discussion this afternoon, will be examined very closely by the Minister and that we will not have to wait and can go forward all guns blazing and emerge with a policy that does the right thing.
Given that this is a debate on the creative industries, I wanted to refer briefly to the "Creative Britain - New Talents for the New Economy" document and to flag up an issue that we have heard about, which is giving more children a creative education, including the "Find Your Talent" programme. I was interested to hear my right hon. Friend the Minister's comments about that programme. Having looked very briefly at the website and the criteria for the pilot projects that will be funded from the new money—I think that there will be 21 pilots in all—I should like to relay a message to my colleagues in Stoke-on-Trent, north Staffordshire, to urge them to put in a bid for some of that money.
As part of the regeneration exercise that we have under way in north Staffordshire, we are staging the second year of the Axis festival, which will encourage people across Stoke-on-Trent to take part in all kinds of music entertainment. At this point, I should declare an interest: my husband will be performing live in one of the festival's fringe events. I really believe that we should do everything that we can, particularly in deprived areas with a huge regeneration agenda, to encourage creative industries as part of a regeneration programme. I, for one, hope that I will have the opportunity to write letters in support of a bid that comes forward from my own constituency.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the main reason for my wanting to stay for this debate at the risk of not getting on one of the last Virgin trains before the work starts on the west coast main line—so entertaining is the debate that I am taking that risk—is to flag up the message that I have for my right hon. Friends the Minister and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport that, when we talk about this issue, as well as talking about music and art, we must talk about ceramics as a creative industry. If I am able to get that message across today and as a result engage with my right hon. Friend the Minister and with the Minister for the West Midlands in a programme of pledges and follow-up activities that relate to all the details of the commitments in the White Paper, I shall be very pleased indeed. I must say, happily, that I have already met with officials and with the British Design Council, along with colleagues from north Staffordshire.
I wonder whether the hon. Lady, given her interest in ceramics and craft, would support our proposal to take the Crafts Council back out of the Arts Council, which would give the crafts and ceramic design a much higher profile as a result?
As someone who has not served on the Select Committee and who has not followed all the detailed developments that have clearly taken place in relation to where the Crafts Council should be in future, I am very hesitant to give my view on what is clearly a contentious issue. However, such is my confidence in my right hon. Friend the Minister that, whatever decision is made about where those different bodies should sit, I am sure that they will be placed in a position where they can make the best possible contribution to the creative industries.
I should like to go back to a document that has been referred to, "Transforming North Staffordshire", which is by the Work Foundation and Mr. Will Hutton. It is important that this debate reflects the fact that not only did Mr. Hutton contribute to one of the earlier stages of thinking on the current strategy, but he was commissioned by the North Staffordshire Partnership to produce this regeneration document and to contribute towards the strategy for regenerating north Staffordshire. Obviously, creative industries featured in that document, and it is vital that we look at the synergies that exist. I have a very real sense that, unless we consistently put that message on the agenda, there will be a rash of activity that will relate to music or art, but ceramics will not be included in that activity.
I attended a festival where ceramics manufacturers were very much on the same side of the fence as those who are involved with the music industry and the record industry, and they have exactly the same issues about copyright. I say to my right hon. Friend the Minister that copyright is an idea that we must develop as part of the strategy.
I think that it would be worth while if I briefly gave some of the history of the ceramics industry, because there is a flawed argument that ceramics is all about heavy industrial pottery manufacturing. I just want to set out my concerns about the ceramics industry. As we face up to the challenges of a global economy, it is vital that we understand the industry and how it has developed from what was originally an arts and crafts movement to a heavy manufacturing industry, whereby drains and sanitary, refectory and hotel wares were its main means of going forward.
Today, the ceramics industry is about both heavy industry and the small and medium-sized enterprises, the design artists and craft-led artists. Very much in the tradition of people such as William Morris, Ruskin and so on, we now have a renaissance of artists, who perhaps have come through Staffordshire university and its wonderful departments. We have a large number of individuals who are now starting to generate a whole new economy; it is as though the whole ceramics industry has gone full circle.
It is, of course, important that we support the heavy industrial manufacturers and those in that sector who still have a huge contribution to make in terms of innovation, but it is just as important that we consider the smaller companies and the individual craftsmen and craftswomen who need the support of the creative industry strategy.
We have already had a commitment from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport that he will visit north Staffordshire, and we have already had the opportunity to discuss the possibility of having a design-led exhibition. However, we really need to consider how we can take forward the strategy document from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and understand the detailed aspects of the ceramics industry, including its link to tourism, whereby a large number of people come to Stoke-on-Trent because of what they can buy or see there. We must use that as a basis for developing economic policy across the west midlands. I very much hope that the debate will mean that we can go full steam ahead and ensure that the ceramics industry is fully a part of the debate about creative industries.
The City of London is famously home to the UK's financial services industry. The hon. Members for Norwich, North (Dr. Gibson) and for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) have somewhat gleefully pointed out that its pre-eminence in the UK economy might not be quite so pronounced in the years ahead, but they are right to focus on the creative industries. In addition to financial services, central London has every reason to be very proud, as it is at the forefront of creative industry. I hope that Joan Walley will forgive me if I do not talk too much about ceramics, as I shall focus on areas that the public tend to associate with the creative industries, such as film and TV. That is not to downplay any of her comments, however, and I hope that the Minister takes on board the concerns that she voiced in this interesting debate.
English is now the universal language of business and the creative culture in London and the UK assists in reinforcing the global competitive advantage that we have with our creative industries. In my constituency, particularly in Soho and the west end, lies the heart of the British media, TV and film industry. We also have great success in design. Good design is ever more at the forefront of consumers' minds. That is a strong sign of a democratic—that word has been used by several hon. Members today—active society that values choice and consumerism. It also leads the whole debate on design, which requires active input from the public at large—from the old and young alike. We must consider not only what is esoteric, but what is significant, in relation to design issues. With those elements, the UK creative industry is at the forefront of many international developments.
We have great expertise in elements of information technology and much originality in the computer games industry. With Japan, we are world leaders in that area. I had the opportunity to visit such a company in Soho only a few months ago. Its offices, in a Soho back street, seem very unassuming from the outside, but inside it is enormously energetic. The offices are open plan, which is how those young, energetic businesses run themselves. They are not exclusively young, but given all the state-of-the-art technology, the people working there are generally in their 20s. There is a sense of energy in the midst of the roads that are made up of cafés, restaurants and seemingly faceless offices. It is amazing to think that those enormous, energetic, world-beating industries are just 2 or 3 miles from where we stand. When I met the people who work there and who run those businesses, I was struck by their passion and commitment to reaching the highest level of technical skill. They have a real determination to ensure that nothing is left to chance and that excellence is maintained. Without that excellence, our creative industries would suffer.
It is both positive and negative that many young people who are not UK citizens work in those industries. Clearly, we are a beacon for young computer programmers from the Indian sub-continent, in particular, and from eastern Europe, but the downside is that too many among our indigenous population have insufficient skills. I shall focus some of my comments on that issue, and I hope that the Minister will take them on board.
There is little doubt that the creative industries as a whole rank as the next most important economic driving force after our financial services industry. It would be wrong to exaggerate some of the problems that the financial services are suffering at the moment, but there is no doubt that in a world in which leisure will become ever more important, we have enormous potential. The middle classes in India and China are increasing enormously, by 20 million or 30 million people a year, and those people will be global consumers in the years ahead. That is not to say that Bollywood will not remain important—it will be an increasingly important film business in the decades ahead—but our advantages in areas such as computer gaming and many creative industries will ensure that we can export tremendous skills and passion to many overseas shores.
In the worlds of broadcast and new media, the tremendous combination of British flair and innovation plays a leading role in creating new products and exporting expertise to the developing world as a whole. We must ensure that the vibrancy in the creative industries is fully recognised at home and promoted to an outside world that is ever more hungry for developments in that field. To do that, we need to ensure that we have a rigorous education system in the creative arts and its allied subjects. A depressing element of life in the summer is the predicable reaction to the announcement of A-level and university results. Commentators who really should know better—some Conservative and some Labour—bemoan the emergence of media studies and film and TV courses at the expense of traditional, academic, higher education subjects.
It is important to encourage the uptake of demanding courses at our universities, but that should not be the whole story. We must also promote the best vocational courses. The flurry of disapproval of those who do media studies or other so-called soft courses is very disheartening, especially as that is where many of the employment opportunities and openings of the future will lie. Indeed, graduate employment statistics bear that out: unemployed media studies graduates are rather less in evidence than unemployed graduates of many more traditional degree subjects. The real issue is not the number of A-level or degree students doing media studies but ensuring that the courses on offer are rigorous enough. Far more needs to be done to involve companies and people who work in the creative industries to ensure that the courses being studied are practical and effective. As several hon. Members have commented, this is a fast-changing world, and such courses must change accordingly.
We should encourage our creative industries to work closely with our universities to make media studies, and other courses in the fast-growing roster of related courses, a fast track towards the skilled and creative industry openings that I have mentioned. That should not mean, however, that we forget the importance of energy, innovation and flair. It is important that we do not take an overly bureaucratic approach. Having worked in the creative industry, the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire is probably aware that it is taking a slightly schizophrenic approach to say that we want to have structures, because the very nature of working in the creative industries is that the lifestyle is unstructured. That is not to say that when such people get to their 50s and 60s, they do not regret having had an unstructured lifestyle which may mean that they do not have a pension. Nevertheless, we must avoid stifling the flair and innovation in the acting, music and other creative industries by being too rigorous. That inevitable tension and strain will surround any policy making in this area, because creativity, rather like entrepreneurialism, cannot simply be taught in the classroom. We can ensure, however, that the skills picked up during a degree or diploma course are made as practical as possible.
We must remember that most of those who work in our creative industries are employed in small businesses—often start-ups and one-man or one-woman shows. With that in mind, some of the changes to the capital gains tax regime are especially bad news for some small, start-up businesses. It makes a mockery of the warm words and positivity in the Government's creative industries document if, at the same time, young, innovative fashion designers and other artists face greater barriers to the development and expansion of their businesses under the capital gains tax regime that is in place. I support the simplicity of an 18 per cent. rate, but many start-up businesses that are going to be sold off in a relatively short time would have qualified for a taper relief down at 10 per cent. Again, in fairness to the Government, that taper relief has been in place only since 2002. It is not as though they are throwing away many years of tax advantages, but it is to be regretted that, in many ways, some of the biggest losers are not those whose voices are the loudest.
As the Member who represents the City of London, I have spoken openly of some of my concerns about vocal complaints from the non-domiciled community about changes to their tax, many of which I believe would be supported by the public at large. But in respect of small, start-up businesses, particularly in this important sphere, there will be many young, creative entrepreneurs who will have good reason to regret that the capital gains tax regime has been changed to their detriment.
Our nation has been at the heart of global trade and the financial and commercial services fields for some centuries. As I mentioned earlier, there is the rapid emergence of two enormous markets today, let alone in the decades ahead: India and China, with more than 2.5 billion consumers. They will undoubtedly be the economic superpowers of the future. For Stoke-on-Trent, North, certain elements of that will probably result in somewhat heavy hearts, but there could be tremendous advantages for the creative industries.
In answer to my earlier intervention, the Minister rightly pointed out that the real challenge for our creative industries is to ensure that they can add value by employing the highest skills possible. It is all the more important, therefore, that we promote spheres of excellence and comparative economic advantage. We need to maintain our place as one of the world's great innovators in film animation, computer games and all other parts of the creative industries. That will happen only if we encourage our young people towards creative university degree courses as well as the more academic options that are available. In that way, we will continue to compete with the growing capabilities in the Indian sub-continent and the far east, and I suspect that the benefits to our nation will be clear not just today but hopefully for generations to come.
I am delighted that we have the opportunity to have this debate. As has been said, it is disappointing that a debate on something that everybody in the room has said is crucial for the future of this country is taking place at the fag end of the parliamentary week, just before a holiday. It deserves much greater prominence.
None the less, we are having a debate, and I am delighted to have an opportunity to join in. We have already had some fantastic contributions from both sides of the House. It has been a stimulating debate, and I have learned a great deal. I am grateful to hon. Members for the insights that they have shared.
I have only one criticism. It is of Dr. Gibson, who, in a passing reference in his speech, referred to the excitement of the creative writers down the corridor. He said that he was at the other end of the corridor doing boring, nerdy science. Those were his precise words—I wrote them down. I am sure that he will reflect on those words and regret them. I know that he believes that science is extremely exciting. Indeed, the stories of why Tycho Brahe spent his life doing fantastic science with an amalgam nose, or of what James Prescott Joule did on his honeymoon and the contribution that that made to the development of science, are as exciting as some of the stories by the people at the other end of the corridor to whom he referred.
This is a very important debate. Sadly, nobody so far has used it as an opportunity to point out that this week we have seen the deaths of two important people who worked in the creative industries. The passing of Anthony Minghella at such an early age is a huge sadness, because he made a huge contribution, and Arthur C. Clarke, with his fantastic ideas about communication satellites, all his science fiction, the film "2001" and so on is also a great loss.
This debate is about ensuring that we can provide the framework to find, nurture and develop the talents of future Minghellas and Clarkes. I am therefore delighted that the Government, through their various Departments—I shall come back to that point shortly—have pulled together this document and shown that they believe that the creative industries are critical for our future. I shall criticise one or two of the proposals contained in it, but, broadly speaking, it is an important and exciting document that helps to chart the way forward.
I note with considerable interest Simon Hoggart's sketch in The Guardian on
"7.3 per cent. of our national output" and contributes a value of £60.8 billion is probably going a little far with the gathering and analysis of statistics. None the less, that is the order of magnitude. Those figures illustrate just how important a part of the economy and the lifeblood of this country the creative industries are.
Of course, we have a difficulty in defining creative industries. I listened to the important speech of Joan Walley about an issue that she, coming from the Potteries, understandably feels passionate about: ceramics. She will be disappointed to note that the definition of creative industries in the document features only as a tiny footnote—it is not in the main body of the document. There is a definition, but it does not include the word "ceramics". I assume that ceramics are included in crafts. The document points out that the list is not exclusive, so she can have hope that the word "ceramics" might be included.
I am most grateful. I have indeed read the document with a toothcomb, and I take great heart from a comment on page 64, which I referred to earlier. It states that the ceramics movement is redefining itself
"as part of a new creative economy."
That is good enough for me, and good enough to ensure that the Government will work with me in that area.
Excellent. I am delighted that the hon. Lady is satisfied, but perhaps she could persuade the Government that, if they rewrite the document, the footnote to page 6 could say a little more about ceramics. None the less, she is right. [Interruption.] Mr. Vaizey from a sedentary position disagrees, but he will make his contribution in a few minutes, and all will be well.
It is important for anyone who speaks on behalf of a political party to reflect clearly their party's views. Therefore, I want to say that there are many areas in which we believe that this country is doing incredibly well. Music has already been mentioned. There is no doubt that this country is a global force in music. It is, arguably, the third in the world in terms of the music market, but it is probably No. 1 in the world for innovation and creativity, and that is crucial.
We discussed copyright, to which I shall briefly come in a few seconds. We have already heard about the importance of addressing illegal downloading and, of course, illegal uploading. I shall not repeat the comments that I made when I intervened in that discussion, but one of the difficulties is that while we can find the internet protocol address of those who are guilty, it is very hard to obtain their physical location. Mr. Whittingdale Junior must be worried: he is one of the few people for whom we do not know the IP address but do know his physical address, and that, of course, is what is needed for prosecutions to take place.
The design industry is worth some £10 billion a year. The fashion industry, which raises £100 million in fashion week alone for the London economy, is critical. Advertising, which has not yet been mentioned, is a critical part of the creative economy, funding 95 per cent. of our national press and 95 per cent. of commercial radio.
Film has rightly been mentioned. There have been fantastic successes in films, including those supported by FilmFour, such as that wonderful animation, "Peter and the Wolf", which is well worth seeing and won an Oscar. I strongly recommend it. There is a long list of Oscar winners, including Daniel Day-Lewis and Tilda Swinton. Tremendous work is being done to try, voluntarily—I accept the points made earlier—to tackle the uploading and downloading of film on the internet. That is as important an issue in respect of film as it is in the music industry.
Wonderful work is being done by all sorts of organisations. BBC Blast deserves a mention, because it is targeting disaffected teenagers and getting them involved in the creative industry. Tremendous work is being done by the British Council, which is rarely mentioned in debates about creativity. However, the British Council is increasingly focusing its work in this field, which is welcome. It has created a series of awards celebrating Britain's experience and expertise in the creative industry.
The video game industry has been mentioned briefly and only once in this debate, by Mr. Field, but we should not forget it, because it is the fourth largest in the world and, sadly, so often the all-purpose punchbag for politicians. Yet the vast majority of what it does should be applauded and celebrated by all of us in this Chamber.
We have touched only briefly, and rather oddly, on the tremendous success due to creative partnerships, a Government initiative that I was critical of in its early days that has now transformed itself so much that it deserves to get a plug for its work. Some fantastic things have come out of that. I am saddened that there is not more in the Government's document about how to build on that existing structure and develop it, rather than suggesting adding new structures.
The document mentions some fantastic things, which I welcome, including the development of 5,000 apprentices a year, the five new centres of excellence in creative skills and the world creative business conference. It will be worth considering how the latter can develop. Although I note the Minister's enthusiasm, I am not entirely convinced that that is the way forward. However, it is worth considering. I also welcome the creative choices careers scheme.
There are many good things, but is important to consider some of the concerns. The Chair of the Select Committee, Mr. Whittingdale, was right to say that intellectual property is central to this debate. We are talking about creative industries and wealth generation as well as everything else and, unless we address intellectual property rights effectively, the rest of it is pretty meaningless. It is critical that we get right some of the things that we currently do not get right. The most obvious example of that—I accept that it is by no means the only one—was raised with passion by Pete Wishart and by the hon. Member for Maldon and East Chelmsford.
I shall place my cards clearly on the table. It is wonderful that the Commissioner is now talking about an extension of copyright to 95 years, because that is exactly what is required. However, were the Minister persuaded by the arguments to go ahead, eventually, there are two possible caveats that she might wish to consider. First, although nearly every item will be placed on the web, because there is a possibility of its generating at least some income, it may still be possible that some items, which are held with an extended copyright, will never see the light of day. There ought to be some sort of "use it or lose it" clause, saying that if an owner of a copyright is not going to use the item, somebody else could use it in some way. There ought to be a mechanism to ensure that that is possible.
Secondly, although modern technology is such that this caveat is not particularly necessary, it is important to recognise that the holders of copyright have an archival responsibility. In the past, master discs have been broken up, used as rubble to provide foundations for new buildings and lost forever. There should surely be a requirement for copyright holders to hold on to the material, bring it up to date in terms of new platforms and technologies and ensure that it is secure. There should be a historical, archival responsibility alongside copyright. I hope that, with those two small caveats in mind, the Minister will be willing to look at the 95-year extension.
The hon. Member for Maldon and East Chelmsford made a valuable contribution in talking about the fragmented responsibilities in respect of the creative industries. The document mentions DCMS, BERR and DIUS—I begin to lose track of all these acronyms—and refers specifically to other Departments with responsibility, including HMT, DCSF and DCLG. Frankly, most people working in the creative industries do not have the foggiest notion what all that lot means. They do not know who to see, what the point of contact is, where to look for support, how to find out what the legislation is, or anything else. A much tighter focus is vital. Of course, cross-departmental working is important—I welcome its being discussed—but it is unclear where the funding responsibility lies.
The document mentions precise figures: I love the way it is £70.5 million, not £70 million—although the £500,000 might be important to some projects. When I mentioned the 29p per week figure, the Minister said that a lot of other things were going on. However, the figure does not just come to £70.5 million. Why that figure is included is beyond me. Millions of pounds are being spent in this area. Why have we not brought all that together and attempted to show what the Government are spending, how it is spent and where they will be bringing in extra money?
I am delighted that the Minister agrees about the fragmented responsibilities. Lottery distributors also need to be examined. Excellent work is being done by the Arts Council, the UK Film Council and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, which is critical and I am delighted the Minister mentioned it. We need to look at their areas of responsibility.
There are some simple issues in respect of which the Government have not addressed properly some of their own failings. For instance, participation in the arts and attendance at arts events is essential—the Minister acknowledges that and it is mentioned in the document—yet, at the moment, the Government are failing. Their own figures show that before they cleverly abolished the targets, they were not meeting them. The former Secretary of State for Department for Culture, Media and Sport, now the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said that the Government could get rid of those targets because they were no longer needed as the Government were achieving everything they wanted to achieve. The truth is that the Government's own report shows that we are not meeting those targets.
If anybody doubts what I am saying, the figures are in the DCMS report, which shows, for example, that in respect of attendance at arts events by priority groups the baseline figure expectation of 33.7 per cent. only got to 33 per cent. There was also a failure to achieve the targets for participation in arts activities. Although the Government have rightly been applauded for the effect of free entry to museums, they have failed to meet their own targets, even in respect of attendance at museums by the various interest areas, including black and minority and lower socioeconomic groups. There is work to be done on including people.
I know that there are big ideas and big issues in the document, but some of the basics are really important. There is no point in talking about a few extra million, welcome though it is, at a time when, for instance, the number of people going to museums and the funding available to them are decreasing. Many museums are funded by local government, whose funding is being heavily squeezed under the recent settlement. If the Government want to talk about cross-departmental working, the Minister should be talking to those responsible for the local government settlement, which affects matters of her responsibility.
Interestingly, the document mentions such things as studio provision. I am sure that the Minister will know that particularly in the east end of London, perhaps because of the build-up to the Olympics, there is no point in talking about additional studio provision, because existing studio provision is being reduced dramatically. There is a lot of work to be done, and in places the document fails to recognise the basic realities that are affecting the creative industries.
Earlier, the Minister cleverly elicited from Members in all parts of the Chamber an indication that we somehow totally supported her "Find Your Talent" scheme. She listened to the interventions very well, but then suggested that we all supported the scheme entirely. The principle is wonderful in many ways, with the additional focus on and attention to creativity and culture in education, which I welcome. She has done herself a huge disservice, however, by aligning herself with the initial announcement of five hours of culture a week. That implies that culture is somehow separated from everything else.
The Minister shakes her head, but I listened to the interview on the "Today" programme with the Secretary of State, and I have listened to the way in which people have understandably picked up on the five hours of culture, done their sums and worked out that the funding for each pupil will be less than 6p an hour. Why was everybody doing those sums, if we were not talking about a set number of hours? We should integrate cultural activities and creativity far more in the curriculum, rather than talk about add-ons. I am delighted that the Minister believes that I am right about that, but I say to her that the document does not say that—it gives a very different impression.
If the Government introduce the five hours of provision, they will get into a great argument with people like me, who point out that targets are not being met and that definitions are fiddled. The Government claim that they have met their commitment to two hours of physical education in school, but they have not. Some 1 million children lose out, and the two hours include changing time. What will be the fiddles in this case? Instead, let us have culture integrated.
The hon. Member for Wantage is desperate to make a long speech—he has indicated that to me twice. I hope that I have shown that my party and I feel passionately about the matter. We support the direction in which the Government are moving. There is much more work still to be done, but I am genuinely delighted that progress is being made and that the creative industries are beginning to be given the prominence that they deserve. I know that he is about to develop that point still further, and that he shares my views on it.
It is a delight to appear in this important debate under your chairmanship, Mr. Weir. I did not mean to cut off Mr. Foster in his prime. He is my parliamentary mentor; he has guided me for the past three years in this place and, indeed, for many years before. He is a man of passion and commitment, but I simply wished to indicate to him that he was approaching his allotted time and might wish to start to apply the brakes. I did not mean him to come to a juddering halt. I apologise if that was the result of my gesticulation. One problem that I have is that much of what the hon. Gentleman said was what I was going to say.
I am deeply offended by the hon. Gentleman. He has just taken over the role as my mentor, as he is now my boss as the chairman of the all-party writers group, of which I am the secretary. There we are—a slap in the face from my new mentor.
As Pete Wishart pointed out, this is the first time that we have debated the creative industries for many years. We are doing so in a poignant week, the day after the death of the extremely well known, Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella. It is only right that we pay tribute to him for his achievements. In many ways, he personified the success that the creative industries in this country are capable of achieving: a domestic product with a global audience and global success.
We have kicked around the statistics about the creative industries. I do not propose to repeat them, but I share the wry amusement of the hon. Member for Bath that we have the absurdly accurate figure that the creative industries account for 7.3 per cent. of our national outputs. We know that the figure is large: as the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire pointed out, the OECD puts the contribution of our creative industries above those of many countries where we might think it would be higher, such as the United States, Canada and France. Those industries are incredibly important, and I join the Minister in paying tribute to Lord Smith of Finsbury, the former Secretary of State. He deserves credit for creating the creative industries mapping document and putting those industries firmly on the map.
I agree with the hon. Member for Bath that the video games sector is often the Cinderella of the creative industries, despite its enormous importance. It is responsible for 30 per cent. of our media exports and is the fourth largest video games sector in the world. The British film industry is also the fourth largest in the world. [Interruption.] It is the third largest in the world, with a global share of 8 per cent.
Our advertising industry contributes £5 billion a year, and our television programmes sell worldwide. No one has mentioned the huge success of Sky and ITV, as well as that of our much loved BBC. We have our contemporary arts and fine art trade, with the Frieze art fair alone contributing £100 million in sales. Ceramics have had a huge outing during this debate, and of course music contributes some £5 billion to the economy.
We are here, however, to debate the Minister's important strategy paper. I am afraid that I do not agree with the golden review that she gave it, along with the people who were strong-armed and half-Nelsoned into saying that it is the best thing since sliced bread. People who are not in the pay of the Government have given a slightly more realistic view of where the paper sits in the debate on the creative economies.
A creative consultancy called BOP Consulting, which was responsible for the recent cultural audit of London on behalf of the Mayor, makes the point that
"the UK is no longer leading policy thinking on the creative economy".
It states that 16 developed and emerging economies
"have policies relating to the exploitation of their creative assets as part of broader industrial and economic strategies... Seen in this global competitive context, the Creative Economy Strategy is nowhere near ambitious enough. It lacks a larger future narrative, a big idea".
I think that that is how it has generally been received—as a lot of small, bitty announcements rather than a wider narrative.
Something that has perhaps not emerged in the debate is the fact that there is no room for complacency about the success of our creative industries. My hon. Friend Mr. Field, in particular, touched upon the threats and opportunities provided by globalisation, particularly from China and India. BOP Consulting points out that job numbers in the creative industry
"seem to have peaked in the early years of this century and not moved much since".
We talk about the creative industries growing faster than the real economy, but a lot of that growth took place during the dotcom boom.
We have waited a long time for the strategy paper. It was first mooted some three years ago, since when we have had the creative industries discussion forum, the creative economy programme, the Work Foundation's "Staying Ahead" document and, finally, what was meant to be a Green Paper but was finally downgraded to a strategy paper. Its 80-odd pages contain six reannouncements, four reviews, five consultations and 12 uncosted promises. Most of it reads like a Stalinist five-year plan, with numerous micro-initiatives and additional bureaucracy where it is not needed or wanted. With the paper, the Government show that they fail to realise that the real way to help the creative economy is by breaking down the barriers created by over-regulation, excessive tax, poor infrastructure and low educational performance, rather than with unfunded, reannounced gimmicks.
Nevertheless, as the hon. Member for Bath indicated, the Government have not been shy about promoting the document. No less than two Under-Secretaries of State, one Minister of State, three Secretaries of State and the Prime Minister himself have their mugshots on it. My favourite part of the document is the Prime Minister's introduction, which was written by a ghost author with a gift for subtle satire. He starts:
"Britain is a creative country. You can feel it every time you visit one of our great museums, galleries or theatres. You can see it when you watch the best of our television or play our imaginative new computer games".
That conjures up the surreal sight of the Prime Minister in his garret at No. 10 Downing street playing a political version of Manhunt 1 or 2 with Tony Blair or Peter Mandelson as the quarry. Such hyperbole continues. The Prime Minister—perhaps I should refer to him as the great leader—wants to
"give everyone the opportunity to unlock their creative talents."
Perhaps that is why he is filling Downing street with PR executives. He goes on to say that he is
"proud of the talented people in this country."
The coup de grace is the video that can be downloaded from the Downing street website on which the Prime Minister is interviewed by Blur's drummer on the importance of the creative industries strategy paper. We have gone from Oasis under Tony Blair to Blur under the Prime Minister. Who said that "Cool Britannia" was dead, or that new Labour would turn away from celebrity endorsement?
The main announcement in the creative industries strategy paper is the "Find Your Talent" programme, which is otherwise known as the so-called cultural offer, but sounds a bit like a game show. It is a pilot programme of five hours' culture a week for every child in the country. The flagship announcement had already been announced twice: by the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and by the Minister. It is a £25 million pilot programme over three years in 10 areas, but we do not know where it will go after that.
Other people have had similar ideas. The Association of British Orchestras has already announced that it would like every child in the country to go to a classical music concert. Our own arts taskforce—it cost absolutely nothing, as opposed to the huge expense behind the strategy paper—last year proposed a cultural offer and clear policy proposals, thus indicating joined-up thinking, including improved teacher training, a schools mark for organisations that participate in the cultural offer and pathways to sustainable training for young people.
The Minister asks us to have faith that the Government's cultural offer will work and take off, and she mentioned the huge success of the Government's sports programme, yet 1 million children a year are still denied two hours' sport a week. The Government's cultural offer was announced in the same week as the Arts Council, which the Minister applauded in her opening comments, cut £150,000 from the National Youth Theatre, thus demonstrating yet again their inability to follow-through on joined-up thinking.
The document refers to creative apprenticeships, which may be a good idea, but it was announced in the 2005 Labour party manifesto and last year. It is just another reheated announcement. The draft strategy paper referred to 1,000 apprenticeships, but now there are to be 5,000. The figures seem to be worked out on the back of an envelope.
NESTA's creative innovators growth programme was put in the strategy document, but is perhaps a rehash of its highly successful Creative Pioneer Academy. That Labour party manifesto commitment was wound up last year after only 80 people attended the academy. There was also a pledge to explore the benefits of a 14-to-25 academy for the creative industries, but that is an idea from the university of the Arts, not from the Government.
There was a commitment to champion London's festivals, but the ink was barely dry on that commitment when the Minister was putting it into practice by celebrating the success of the Proms and giving them two days of fantastic coverage. The reannouncement to protect live music venues was made in the same week that Ken Livingstone announced that the Astoria will be knocked down to make way for Crossrail. Finally demonstrating the arm's length principle for the Arts Council, it was announced that it would be used to take forward the Government's creative industries strategy.
Other ideas have fallen by the wayside. Earlier drafts referred to a major inquiry, chaired by a vice-chancellor, into putting art and design colleges and conservatoires centre stage. Presumably, no vice-chancellor knew what that meant, so none has been found to chair the inquiry. I am sad that the wonderful proposal to support a study to produce greater coherence within the British fashion industry did not make it into the final strategy paper. The jokes would have been just too easy. Seventy million pounds may be a lot to money for hon. Members, but it is not a great deal in terms of the investment that might be needed to support the creative industries and to make a difference.
The hon. Member for Bath hit the nail on the head, as indeed did the speeches from other hon. Members, when discussing what links the creative industries. We are talking about the big ideas on piracy, intellectual property enforcement, copyright and the infrastructure for technology. In the document, the Government again gave a commitment to consult on enforcement against internet service providers, to promote better understanding of intellectual property law and to increase some of the penalties for infringement. The threat against ISPs has been around for more than a year, and the Government's first proposal was in the Gowers report, but there has been no action since.
It is frankly depressing that the second most important announcement in a creative industries strategy paper is effectively more than 14 months old. My prediction is that the Government will not legislate. It is much easier for them to say that they will legislate than to do so. Most people believe that they are looking at what the French are doing, but the French are finding it extremely difficult to draft appropriate legislation that would be effective. The Movie Producers and Distributors Association and other organisations are in talks with ISPs, and they will probably announce a voluntary code within the next few weeks or months. The Government, of course, are welcome to take credit for that, but there is unlikely to be serious legislation, although the intention to legislate will no doubt be reannounced in a creative industries document in the next two years or so.
I concur with hon. Members, particularly my hon. Friend Mr. Whittingdale, that when we talk about piracy and theft, the gulf between what we commonly understand as theft in terms of taking an object that we can see and theft in terms of taking a piece of intellectual property is huge. The real solutions will probably be driven by technology and new business models. Two or three hon. Members mentioned the idea that Apple is working to introduce a voluntary £50 charge to people who buy an iPod and want unlimited downloads from iTunes. It is pretty obvious that the vast majority of people want to buy films and music on the internet legitimately for what they perceive to be a reasonable cost. The more the industry can provide them with safe, secure and straightforward ways of doing that, the more it will be able to monetise the digital environment.
As hon. Members have discussed, we need an urgent review of our copyright laws. The hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire made an overwhelming case, which has been endorsed by the leader of the Conservative party, my right hon. Friend Mr. Cameron, who announced last year that the next Conservative Government will extend copyright for performers to 70 years, but it is obvious in the light of Commissioner McCreevy's announcement that the period must be carefully considered. I have told the hon. Gentleman that the Conservative party will consider the matter, but we have moved beyond Gowers and intend to extend copyright, although there will obviously be a debate about the specific period.
Broadband is another huge issue, and again the Government are considering a review on removing the barriers to next generation broadband. That is welcome, but the creative industries that depend on that important element of infrastructure would be forgiven for saying, "What will another review do? Let's have some real muscle behind getting next generation broadband, so that we can start to compete with city states such as Singapore and other countries that are putting in the infrastructure for very fast broadband very quickly."
The Minister has made it clear that the creative industries share characteristics with a range of other businesses. My hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster made the point that the creative industries, like any other industries in our country, depend on a stable economy, although it has to be said that creative businesses are predominantly small businesses and sole traders. Those are extremely important factors.
However, last week's Budget was not a Budget for the creative industries or for business. Capital gains tax for entrepreneurs increased by 80 per cent., and the 10p starting rate of income tax was abolished. As the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire pointed out, there may be rich rock stars, but there are also very poor musicians who are being hit by that tax. At the other end of the scale, the sustained assault by the Government on the venture capital industry and non-doms has resulted only today in Terra Firma announcing that it might well up sticks and move abroad. That might be the start of the flight of many venture capital companies that are involved in pump-priming and investing in early-stage companies in the creative sectors.
There is also huge concern about the extension of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations. Perhaps the Minister will address that specific point. I understand that the changes mean that the provisions will be extended to certain professional sectors such as advertising and other creative industries. That is causing huge concern in those industries.
The enormously important issue of education was ably covered by Dr. Gibson, my current mentor. I hope that he does not take it amiss that I regard him as my mentor. He said that there is too much of a focus on Oxford and Cambridge. It is true that only two of the top 20 universities in the world are British. America is home to 17 of the others, and California alone has three of the top 10. Obviously, there will be a huge issue about upskilling and upgrading our universities.
I cannot remember who talked about the fact that there are so many media studies courses in universities at the moment and so many courses whose titles include the word "film". I think that it was my hon. Friend the Member for Maldon and East Chelmsford —[Interruption.] I have been corrected: it was my hon. Friend the Member for Cities of London and Westminster. He made a fair point, because people working in the video games industry employ graduates with maths qualifications and computer science qualifications, and the video games industry is one of the industries that points out that the number of graduates in those subjects has fallen by one quarter in just the past four years.
The hon. Member for Norwich, North has, with me, been engaged in lobbying the Government on the dramatic cuts in the Science and Technology Facilities Council. Again, that is putting people off going into careers in science. Science degrees and the creative industries might appear to be an odd combination to talk about, but the fact remains that a great many science graduates go on to work in what we regard as creative industries, so that is incredibly important.
Joined-up government—a subject not really touched on in the strategy paper—is vital in this field. The Minister's predecessor, who is now the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, proposed in an early draft of the document a creative industries ministry. That was a bold idea, which I am not sure I support, but I certainly think that there should be hard thinking about where responsibility lies for copyright and patent law and whether Departments should start to swap responsibilities so that, as the hon. Member for Bath said, people who work in the creative industries know where to go for a range of advice and the policy can be joined up. That said, the creative industries are so vast and so eclectic that we will never achieve a perfect solution.
One small point might be worth illustrating. Some artists in London have expressed anger against Ken Livingstone because of what they perceive as his bias in favour of developers. They make the point that many small spaces in London for artists are disappearing. The author of a book called "The Warhol Economy" makes the point about the New York economy depending on creativity and so many people in New York now being forced out into the suburbs. Here, joined-up thinking in planning is perhaps necessary. The Minister has a strategy for rehearsal spaces for live music, but the Visual Arts and Galleries Association wants a strategy for studio spaces for artists, too. There are always tiny issues—well, they are not tiny for the people involved. Perhaps I should say that there are always niche issues that cut across a range of Departments, but I certainly think that after the Minister has finished reviewing the role of the Arts Council, she should consider how we can get a proper organisational structure in place to deliver the most effective Government support for the creative industries.
I should have said this in my opening remarks, but I join other hon. Members in recognising the enormous contribution made by Anthony Minghella, and not just to the film industry, although I genuinely think that had it not been for him, we would not now be planning a new film centre on the south bank with £50 million in funding. He played an enormous role in persuading Government to introduce the film tax relief, which has hugely benefited film. In his work outside film, I recently saw his production of "Madam Butterfly" at the English National Opera—the direction was stunning—and he also helped the Labour party with an excellent party political broadcast.
Absolutely. Nothing could be better than having the Minghella centre on the south bank. I think that that would be a huge tribute to his contribution.
This has been a great debate. I think that it was a little spoilt by Mr. Vaizey, who showed the usual cynicism and negative approach.
No, not at this point. The hon. Gentleman showed the usual negative approach and cynicism, facing both ways without showing any joined-up thinking.
Does the Minister suspect that the rather cynical view of the hon. Member for Wantage is a reflection of the fact that I have now apparently been dropped as his mentor? As a result, his tone has changed.
I know that my hon. Friend Dr. Gibson is absolutely exhilarated by the thought of becoming the mentor of the hon. Member for Wantage—he showed that by various gesticulations during the debate.
I shall respond as quickly as I can to the points made in the debate. I agree entirely with Mr. Whittingdale, the Chairman of the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, that all the creative industries need to develop new business models. Everything that we have said about copyright protection will work only in part. The real way forward for all the creative sectors is to develop new business models. The music industry, although it came to the table late because it was hit first, is doing more work on new business models than others. I was at an interesting session with representatives of the BPI just before Christmas, at which they demonstrated to me not just the model that the hon. Gentleman talked about, but the way in which mobile phone technology will now be used. We can think of Radiohead and the way in which they have used technology.
The hon. Gentleman talked about live concerts. That is almost a new business model in its own right. The film industry has to do some catching up to the point that the music industry has reached. That is an important point.
I want to pick up on the hon. Gentleman's point about camcording in cinemas. In relation to his discussions with the film industry, I say to him that we need better evidence that a new offence would have the impact that it thinks it would have. As far as I can see from the evidence so far where that offence has been introduced, it has not made an enormous difference, so we have asked the industry for more evidence.
A number of hon. Members referred to copyright extension. I repeat what I have said in the main Chamber: we have an open mind. However, I hope that hon. Members will look at the evidence, because it was not an unthinking decision on the part of Gowers; he based it on the best evidence that he had. It was echoed—I have now found the reference—by the Hugenholtz report to the European Commission. Although Commissioner McCreevy seems to have had a change of heart, we certainly look forward to discussions with him. We need to get good research evidence, and the hon. Gentleman will know that the research that his Committee considered was questioned by some of those involved in the earlier research. Let us look at that research again in that context.
Is the Minister saying that she will consider that question only on the basis of the economic impact, because in our view the argument goes way beyond the economic effect it will have?
The impact that copyright extension would have on those who might benefit from it is enormously important. One of the points that Gowers made is that the contracts under which many of the musicians and performers exercise their copyright are such that they would not benefit from an extension. Considering the broad interpretation of economic impact, it is important that we consider that matter. I understood and heard the passion of Pete Wishart on those issues, but we need to ask who the beneficiary would be—Disney or the individual performer? We must investigate that.
I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, North on being involved with such a range of organisations, particularly the all-party writers group. I have noted his comments on the Copyright Tribunal. I would like to take away my notes and puruse them. The issue is not at the top of my agenda, but he made some interesting comments. I take the point that although we measure success by patents, we do not do so with copyrights. That is because they have no legal status, and therefore it is difficult to measure them. However, an important and fundamental point has been made, and we need to address that across the Government. I hope that the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills will be able to consider that as part of its innovation review. I applaud the work of the creative writers group, founded by Malcolm Bradbury, which has been incredibly successful as part of the university of East Anglia.
The hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire talked about the huge UK success story. I completely and utterly endorse what he said. Our music industry is also successful. I accept the fragility not just of that industry, but of many of our industries. Many hon. Members mentioned the games industry, which is successful but quite promiscuous. The Canadians have introduced a tax relief that is having an impact here. Clearly, we do not want to have a ping-pong situation in relation to competitive tax relief because that will not lead to long-term stability and growth. Nevertheless, it is worrying that some Governments at federal or regional level feel that they can pursue such a strategy. We are taking that problem up with the World Trade Organisation. It reflects the fragility of another industry.
If the hon. Gentleman looks at the document, "Creative Britain—New Talents for the New Economy", there are two big references to rehearsal spaces. He will know that we have given Fergal Sharkey the task of spending £500,000 to set up some good music rehearsal spaces in various localities. I accept that we must have the respect of the artists and the performers. In the work that I have been doing on the creative economy programme, artists and performers are at the heart of our thinking and our consultation, and they very much inform what we do.
My hon. Friend Joan Walley managed to get me to visit her constituency and she has now got the Secretary of State to visit it. I congratulate her on her determination to represent her constituents in Parliament. The only thing I would say—I think I have said this to her before—is that in trying to secure the future of the ceramics industry for her constituents, it is important that she engages with the regional development agency, as it should take on board the potential and future of that industry.
Indeed, we are engaging with the regional development agency, but the ceramics industry is relevant to this debate because small art potteries continue to be driven by design, use of colour and finely tuned hand skills. Their principal defences against counterfeiting are copyright and trademark. As well as having a bigger debate about industrialised production and manufacturing, it is essential that we look at the issue from the art point of view; hence my concern and interest in the debate.
I accept my hon. Friend's point, but the RDAs also have to capture the importance of those factors because they relate to the added value that the creative industries often bring.
Mr. Field made two important points. One was the importance of vocational courses. I endorse his remarks on that. I referred to the fact that we must work to ensure that the competences offered in courses and the content of courses reflect the needs of people in the industry. The individuals who take those courses, and now often pay for them, could then move straight into the world of work. We have not dropped the piece of work relating to that, as the hon. Member for Wantage suggested. The university of Brighton is taking forward a piece of work precisely to look at course content across the university sector and the conservatoires. That will ensure the relevance of that work. I was pleased to hear him endorse the importance of vocational courses, but they must be of the right quality.
Small and medium-sized enterprises were also mentioned. It would be wrong to have a Minister for the creative industries because businesses in that sector share many of the characteristics and problems generally experienced by industry. The fact that there is a concentration of SMEs means that we must get the whole framework right to support them across all sectors. When I did business support simplification in my previous job, we tried to drive out many of the specific funding programmes that we had for individual industries so that we could view them in a more general way. If something is simple, businesses will take advantage of it; if it is complex, they will not find their way through the maze.
It is right to have cross-Government working. I work incredibly closely with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. I also work closely with colleagues in the Treasury, in local government and elsewhere. The way in which we are dealing with the issue is right. On the whole, our work on deregulation supports the SME sector. The additional capital allowances that businesses have for investment after the Budget are important. We want businesses not simply to start up, but to grow. The incentivisation is now taken away from the capital gains tax relief and put into capital investment, which is important.
The hon. Members for Bath (Mr. Foster) and for Wantage mentioned statistics not being precise enough. We are trying to address the problem with information. When we put together the Will Hutton report, there was a lot of discussion about the basis on which he made his observations. The data are not comparable. There is an issue with information; it is always an investment, and we are considering that matter.
I agree about video games. Far too often, they are attacked, but they account for more than 50 per cent. of gross value added in the creative industries. Video games are hugely important to us and are increasingly enjoyed by a wide range of people. For example, more women now play them and the average age of those who play is 28, which is much higher than I thought. It is not only Whittingdale Junior, but many adults—men and increasingly women—who are enjoying such games.
I take on board the points made by the hon. Member for Bath about extending intellectual property and "use it or lose it." I agree that there are some simple, basic realities, which is why we turned the document from a Green or White Paper into a strategy document. The document is full of real action. It can be attacked by saying that some of the action has been trailed before, but this is real action that will make a difference to the industry. We could have had another strategy document, but I think that Will Hutton did his job pretty well. It is now down to us to take his work forward and to ask what the Government will do to ensure that we provide the economic conditions to enable the industries to prosper. That is what we have done in the document. I am proud of it, but I consider it a stage in the journey.
The creative industries sector is fragile and operates in fast-changing circumstances—whether that involves the introduction of broadband, the convergence of technology or the competition from globalisation. We have to respond quickly and we can do so only in partnership. The partnership we have established is broadly welcomed by most people with whom I converse and we want to preserve it for the future by working across the Government in the interests of the creative sector.
It being half-past Five o'clock, the motion for the Adjournment of the sitting lapsed, without Question put.