Cultural Attractions: Contribution to Local Economy — [Sir Charles Walker in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:42 pm on 6th October 2020.

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Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Labour, Cardiff West 2:42 pm, 6th October 2020

I agree. She is another of my protégés, and is doing a marvellous job as arts Minister in Cardiff.

Through the Minister, I say to the Chancellor that he must stop the talk about people in the creative industries going on to do something else. In a report today on the ITV website, the Chancellor suggests that musicians and others in the arts industry—actors, creatives and so on—may need to retrain and find new jobs. When asked whether he was suggesting that some of the UK’s fabulous musicians, artists and actors should get other jobs, the Chancellor said that although there is still work available in the creative industries,

“as in all walks of life everyone’s having to adapt.”

That is true and all very well, but he is in danger of becoming the Aunt Mimi of Government if he is not careful. For those who do not know, Aunt Mimi was John Lennon’s aunt, who brought him up and told him to get a proper job rather than going into the music industry. Those are proper jobs! Roles that are involved in our creative industries—actors, such as my brother or the hon. Member for Clacton; musicians; directors; or whatever freelance or employed role—are proper jobs in the fastest growing sector of our economy. It is about time that the Government acknowledged that.

In all fairness, some parts of the Government do, and I welcome the package that they have brought forward—although that money needs to be distributed now—but the view that those are not proper jobs has got to go. The Chancellor has to stop saying that. The Minister may not feel free or at ease to say so in the debate, but will she say privately in the halls of Government that that kind of talk has to stop? The Government’s job is to provide a bridge to the future for what is a very viable creative sector. There is a bright future for it and for those who work in it. We need to acknowledge that and provide more support to enable it.