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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 certainly will. In fact, I will come to my hon. Friend’s constituency to discuss that important issue. If we can time that with another major sporting event in his constituency, that will go down well.

My hon. Friend David Warburton, who represents Glastonbury and chairs the all-party parliamentary group on music, mentioned access to music in state schools, which is imperative. We are committed to ensuring all children have a broad and balanced curriculum, and the arts are a key part of that. We are revising the national plan for music education and, as part of that work, developing a model music curriculum created by an independent panel of experts.

My hon. Friend John Howell, an accomplished organist and clarinettist, also talked about music education, and we absolutely recognise its importance. I am sure he will welcome the recent announcements that reflect our ambitions on that, including £80 million for music education hubs on top of the £300 million allocated between 2016 and 2020.

Jo Stevens also referred to live music acts. We do not believe it is necessary to undertake post-legislative scrutiny of the Live Music Act 2012 at this stage. It was introduced to deregulate some of the requirements of the Licensing Act 2003, to help grassroots venues. Full scrutiny was undertaken in 2017 to inform the Government response to the report of the House of Lords Select Committee on the Licensing Act 2003. It was concluded that that was working broadly as intended.

Many hon. Members rightly mentioned our exit from the EU and visas for touring musicians, particularly Stephen Doughty, who—we have such a wealth of talent—is an accomplished artist. Touring is the lifeblood of the industry and we recognise the importance of the continued ease of movement of musicians, equipment and merchandise once we have left the EU. Visa rules for artists performing in the EU will not change until the implementation period ends in December 2020. They are being considered, and we welcome the views of all hon. Members and the industry on movement within Europe. It is essential that free movement is protected for artists post 2020.

Nearly everyone mentioned music venues, including Louise Haigh. She has a stunning singing voice. I was quite surprised and impressed at how great the Opposition Members’ singing voices are. That is great news and I look forward to hearing more of it. Alex Davies-Jones gave her first performance here in Westminster Hall, which was as impressive as the voices of the choir at the Millennium Stadium—I have had the pleasure of listening—which certainly intimidates opposition teams.

Jeff Smith, a former DJ, was right to mention dance music. He mentioned grassroots music venues, as did Alison Thewliss. We believe those spaces must be allowed to prosper, so we have taken a number of measures that have been mentioned to support this important sector, including the introduction of the Live Music Act 2012 and the agent of change principles. The Arts Council put in a fund of £1.5 million to support grassroots venues. In our manifesto we committed to changes in business rates for music venues. I look forward to receiving more detail on that further support for music venues soon.

The hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire was right to raise the issue of diversity. Again, he is a man with no small history in the music sector, having sold 2 million albums with Runrig—and 17 with MP4. We believe that equal access to music opportunities should be available to all. The Creative Industries Council recently published its diversity charter, which commits the industry to act to create a more diverse workforce.

Kevin Brennan rightly mentioned shared parental leave. We are not ruling out further support for self-employed parents and the evaluation of shared parental leave is ongoing. We will report on that and publish the Government response to the consultation in due course.

To conclude, this Government are committed to continuing to support the fantastic UK music industry at home and abroad. I recognise the need to consider introducing a comprehensive music strategy. We want our music industry to continue to be the envy of the world.