Leaving the EU: Tourism and the Creative Industries — [Mr Peter Bone in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:45 pm on 17th April 2018.

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Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey Conservative, Wantage 2:45 pm, 17th April 2018

Yes, I do share the hon. Lady’s concern, but I must correct her: I do not think I am missed, because the new Minister is doing such an incredible job that he has wholly erased the memory of me. That is slightly irritating, but I am pleased that somebody as talented as him has taken on the role.

That concern goes both ways. The hon. Lady is incredibly perceptive, and I have worked with her very happily on many different issues. Talent is at the core of the success of our creative industries. If someone walks into the office of any successful business in any part of the country, they will hear a smorgasbord of different voices and meet people of a range of nationalities who have all been attracted by the success of the UK’s creative industries.

We simply cannot have a situation in which we make it as difficult as possible for talented people with the right skills to come to this country, and we must not find ourselves in a situation in which it is difficult for our successful companies to send their people abroad, whether that is a band of musicians or a team of people from an advertising or architecture firm. That must be at the front and centre of the Government’s thinking.

I was struck by an email I received today from a constituent, which is slightly tangential to the core subject of the debate. He runs a Brazilian management consultancy, which has an office in London because it believes in the openness of the UK economy. He cannot get a particular person with a speciality that would enhance the London business over from Brazil, and he has been trying for 12 months. It is a pathetic situation when the Home Office makes it so difficult for skilled people to come to this country and boost our economy.

The Minister should also keep an eye on the audiovisual media services directive. One of the UK’s success stories is that we have hundreds, if not thousands, of broadcasters based here, which can be regulated by Ofcom, the best communications regulator in Europe, and, as a result, transmit their services across Europe. As I was watching my BT Sport app in Europe last week, I was struck that, sadly, we cannot continue to take advantage of the digital single market, which allows portability for paid content. We will have to see what happens with that, but it is absolutely crucial.

The final hurdle—hon. Members will be pleased to know that I am coming to an end—is the French. They have carved culture out of every third-party free trade agreement between the EU and other countries. That was their No. 1 priority when the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership was negotiated. As sure as oeufs is oeufs, the French will try to carve out culture in any free trade agreement between the UK and the European Union, and Ministers will have to be vigilant about the impact of any French agenda on the future of our creative industries.