I’m absolutely delighted to be here – and I want to thank Caroline and Creative UK for inviting me to speak at today’s event.
It’s been a whirlwind few weeks in government and during that time we’ve seen departments being broken up, and new ones created.
But I think those changes have left my department, DCMS, in a strong position.
We can now dedicate all of our energy on the sectors at the heart of our portfolio – particularly the creative industries.
They are a key priority for the Prime Minister.
They are a priority for the Chancellor, who has highlighted the creative industries as one of his key growth sectors for the UK economy.
And they are a priority for me as Culture Secretary.
In my first few weeks in the role, I’ve been on a whistlestop tour of Britain’s creative landscape.
I’ve been up to the Corrie set, and to the Brits.
I’ve sat on the front row at London Fashion Week, and cheered on UK filmmaking at the BAFTAs.
And during those last few weeks I’ve seen with my own eyes just how much talent we have in this country:
the writers, the musicians,
the lighting and sound technicians, the designers and the producers.
But those people aren’t just making nice things.
They are the workforce powering our country – pumping £116 billion into the national purse every year.
The creative industries enrich our lives in every sense of the word.
When they thrive, the country thrives.
And while I’m new to DCMS, as a minister in other departments, I’ve seen just how much the arts can affect lives.
As prisons minister I saw firsthand how pivotal drama and art can be to rehabilitation,
in helping people find purpose, meaning and hope, and improve their skills for life outside their four walls.
As the housing minister, we constantly talked about the importance of “place”…
…how the quality of the buildings we inhabit and the beauty of the architecture around us affects the way we feel about our home towns and cities.
And at the Treasury I saw how we can support companies to grow, expand and recruit.
I am going to bring that experience to bear in this role, to push the creative industries to a new level of growth in the coming years.
Now, it’s worth noting the huge level of support that the government is already giving to the creative industries.
We are currently spending:
Over £21 million through the UK Global Screen Fund, to promote the independent screen sector.
Over £8 million to support new video games businesses to develop new products and talent through the UK Games Fund.
£17 million to boost creative investment in six regions across England.
Over £100 million in funding from UK Research and Innovation, to help us become world leaders in virtual production, and support smaller businesses to experiment and innovate.
And today I can announce that we are spending another £2.5 million to support R&D in the creative industries in different places across the UK.
Those are the things we are already doing to get the sector firing on all cylinders.
But to push things to the next level, I’m going to focus on at least two things:
On people, I know that a key challenge for the sector is skills.
Our film and TV industries, for instance, are booming.
They’re creating thousands of jobs. Now we need people to fill them.
Yet a recent survey of young people by the BFI and careers app ERIC found only 6 per cent believed a career in the screen industries, for example, was achievable.
So we need to work together to give people the right skills and awareness from a young age, so that they can join these booming industries and enjoy fulfilling, well-paid jobs.
On places, I want to use the creative industries to drive growth in every corner of the UK.
Right now, more than half of creative jobs are in London and the South East.
That’s just not good enough.
This is one of our strongest industries, and we need the entire country to feel its benefits.
And there’s a clear route to doing that.
Right now, there are certain hotspots outside London and the South East where creativity is absolutely booming.
Where certain creative industries form natural “clusters”.
So Leamington Spa, for instance, has become one of the video game capitals of the UK,
While Belfast is a hub for film and TV production.
I’m extremely interested in how we can boost those clusters,
And a need to work across government so that we build homes and train stations in areas where our creative industries are thriving.
I’m interested in how we can give businesses in those areas even more opportunities to innovate, to access investment, and to export the best of British creativity abroad.
And finally, I want to understand how the tax system can best support the creative economy, and how it can encourage people all over the country to start and expand their own creative businesses.
And I will set out how I intend to deliver them through the upcoming Creative Industries Sector Vision.
DCMS has worked very closely with industry on the Sector Vision, and last week I met with some of the leading voices of the sector to discuss that project,
during the first face-to-face meeting of the Creative Industries Council since before the pandemic.
And when the Sector Vision is published, it will kickstart a whole new round of engagement together.
It will outline how we will continue to work together, both government and industry, on a range of issues affecting creative businesses.
It will give us the framework to partner up with the new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology on research and development…
…and to work with the Department for Education on building a highly skilled and innovative workforce.
And it will lay out how we intend to capitalise on this really exciting era for the creative industries…
…An era where film and TV alone are now worth more than the entire car industry in the UK.
This is where the jobs are, this is where growth is.
So I want to capitalise on that moment, and use it to drive the sector to new heights, for the benefit of the entire country.
So look out for its publication.
And in the meantime, I want to thank everyone in this room for all the dedication and passion you bring to your work every single day.
I know creative work can be a real labour of love.
And it’s one of the reasons why I’m looking forward to working with all of you in the coming months,