It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship once again, Mr Bone, and I congratulate Mr Vaizey. He and I are veterans of long standing of such debates, and we still bear the scars of the Digital Economy Act 2017, in which we both took a great interest. I also congratulate Christine Jardine on securing this important debate. I was intrigued to see how she would combine tourism and the creative industries, but she did it in such an elegant way that we can all forgive her for bringing together those awkward-sitting issues.
I will confine my remarks to the creative industries. I want to be as blunt as I can. Leaving the European Union will be an absolute and utter disaster for our creative industries. We cannot start to comprehend the predicament that we will soon find ourselves in. The sharing, collaboration and enjoyment of creativity is practically the antithesis of the central tenets of withdrawal, isolationism and the ending of free movement that are at the heart of the Government’s Brexit.
The creative industries are quite particular—they are industries like no other—because they are fired by imagination, talent, creativity and invention. They exist to be appreciated, enjoyed and transferred across audiences worldwide without regard to border or territory. For success, they require the maximum conditions for international exchange and co-operation, which will allow them to develop and continue to thrive.
When it comes to supporting creative endeavour, our job as legislators is simple; indeed, it is only one thing. It is to try to create the maximal and optimal conditions for creativity to continue to develop, thrive and succeed. Pursuing Brexit is almost the opposite of that objective and that endeavour.
Let us just have a little, casual look at what is at risk here. The hon. Member for Edinburgh West said it—£92 billion is now generated by the creative industries for the UK economy. That is more than the automotive, life sciences, aerospace, and oil and gas industries combined. The creative industries are perhaps the fasting growing sector of our economy and I always like to say that these industries, and the growth we see from them, are like growing our economy on the imagination, the invention and the creativity of the British people.