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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:38 pm on 17th April 2018.

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Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) (Arts and Heritage) 3:38 pm, 17th April 2018

I apologise to the Minister and the House, but because the SNP spokesperson spoke for 11 minutes that leaves only 16 minutes before the Division, two of which must be devoted to the person who secured the debate, so it looks as though we will have to come back after the vote.

I congratulate Christine Jardine on securing today’s debate. She rightly pointed out the huge workforce challenges that Brexit presents to the creative industries and tourism and she made important points about musicians and the need for a single EU work permit. I also congratulate Mr Vaizey who in his characteristically self-deprecatory, tongue-in-cheek speech made some serious points about the importance of the creative industries. Quite rightly, he spoke about the film tax relief in which he played a big part, as well as the importance of protecting the single digital market post-Brexit. I look forward to hearing what the Minister has to say about that.

I also congratulate my hon. Friend—I shall call him that—Pete Wishart. He described tourism and the creative industries as sitting awkwardly together. I rarely disagree with him, but I do on that point because much tourism is driven by culture and our creative industries, including the music industry, which he knows well, theatre and television. In my constituency of Cardiff West, the production of programmes such as “Doctor Who” and “Sherlock” has drawn tourism into the area. I recently visited Belfast and saw the “Game of Thrones” studios, and although I cannot tell Members anything about the studios because I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement, I can say that they have brought many visitors into Northern Ireland.

The hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire also rightly pointed out that the creative industries are the fastest growing sector of our economy, and he made a startling revelation. I have always wondered what makes him cry, and we now know it is Brexit that makes him weep when he is alone at home. He made a substantial case for our creative industries and rightly mentioned UK Music, ably led by its chief executive Michael Dugher, and the Musicians’ Union, under Horace Trubridge’s new leadership. He was rudely interrupted—or intervened on—by my hon. Friend Kerry McCarthy, who continued her vendetta against Coldplay. I think she should remember that many people are employed in our creative industries as a result of Coldplay’s success and be careful not to tarnish one of our strongest performing bands, lest she cause unemployment in those industries.

David Duguid, who, as he pointed out, has recently been super-subbing in MP4 on television, told us about his constituency, with its golf and its beautiful coastline and how it is the home of the white-billed diver. His description made it sound like the garden of Eden, but if “Whisky Galore” was filmed there, it might also have been the place where they invented original sin. I congratulate him on a very good speech and on making the point about VAT—although, as was pointed out to him, that is actually within the gift of the Government, whether or not we are a member of the European Union.

My hon. Friend Chris Evans mentioned the Blackwood Miners’ Institute—I was there with him at the Manic Street Preachers homecoming gig a few years ago—and made some very important points about freedom of movement and about arts and the creative industries. It is important not to make a distinction between the subsidised arts and the creative industries. One of the strengths of what has happened in recent years is that those two things have been brought together into one viewpoint. The film industry receives tax credits, as the right hon. Member for Wantage pointed out, and yes, some of our theatres receive subsidies via the Arts Council, but they are all part of the same ecology that produces our fantastic creative industries and makes us a world leader in music, theatre, film and so on. The right hon. Gentleman also made the very important point about ensuring that the Creative Industries Council has workforce representation on it, which I have been campaigning for from the Front Bench for some time. The Government said that once they had published their creative industries strategy they would encourage the Creative Industries Council to have that representation, and I hope to hear from the Minister what he now intends to do about that.

I will respond to the debate more broadly by saying that the creative industries obviously face a real challenge from Brexit, as does the tourism industry. Like many in this room, I voted remain—unlike you, Mr Bone.