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Economy and Society: Contribution of Music

Part of High Speed 1: Rolling Stock – in Westminster Hall at 3:47 pm on 21st January 2020.

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Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State 3:47 pm, 21st January 2020

I congratulate all right hon. and hon. Members on their contributions and, in particular, Conor McGinn on bringing this incredibly important debate to Westminster Hall today. The interest shown in the debate is testament to the essential role played by music in our national life. I know that the hon. Gentleman is a keen music fan, he has a stunning voice—so I am led to believe—and he is a Classic FM fan. Ms McDonagh, you may be surprised to learn that the hon. Member for St Helens North is also a Rod Stewart aficionado. That took me by surprise, and no doubt at some point we may hear more about it.

I apologise because, given the time constraints, I might not be able to address all the issues and points raised today, but could I add my voice to those who have congratulated the outgoing chief executive of UK Music, Michael Dugher, who has done an incredible job for the sector in his time there? We wish him well in his new career, where I am sure he will also do an incredible job. We also congratulate Andy Heath, the outgoing chairman, who has a fantastic reputation within the industry and has also done a fantastic job stewarding the excellent organisation that is UK Music.

I will also quickly mention and congratulate Billy Ocean, who is 70 today—would you believe it? And of course we cannot forget Baby Spice, Emma Bunton, who has her 44th birthday today. I cannot believe that, either.

I will respond to some of the points raised in the debate, not least the point that the contribution of the music industry is not just economic. There is a huge body of evidence pointing to music’s positive impact on wellbeing, skills and employment, and in the reduction of anti-social behaviour and crime. It is not just about the money. We are supporting initiatives such as the National Academy for Social Prescribing, which Kate Green mentioned, to enable GPs and other healthcare professionals to refer people to a range of local non-clinical services.

The hon. Member for St Helens North mentioned tax reliefs, which have been successful in the film sector. As set out in our response to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s live music inquiry last year, creative sector tax loops are kept under review to ensure their ongoing effectiveness. I have spoken with music industry representatives and I am happy to receive any evidence-based proposals for a tax relief for the sector.

The hon. Gentleman also talked about the music export growth scheme, which has been incredibly successful. Music is an extraordinary export for the UK because of its economic value and, as everyone will know, the soft power influence it has around the world. The MEG scheme has been helpful in ensuring bands and artists such as Wolf Alice can be promoted and travel overseas. I recently met the Minister for Investment and spoke to him about the importance of these schemes. We look forward to working in partnership with his Department and the music industry, to ensure that talent can access key overseas markets.

The hon. Gentleman also mentioned copyright, as did Pete Wishart. We support the overall aims of the copyright directive, but our imminent departure from the EU means that we are not required to implement it in full. It is imperative that we do everything possible to protect our brilliant creators, as well as the rights of consumers and users of music. I look forward to working with the music industry to ensure we achieve that and, as I have said on many occasions, I will work to ensure that we stop the exploitation of our artists here in the UK.