HC Deb 29 June 1998 vol 315 c12
11. Mr. Martin Linton (Battersea)

What assessment he has made of the job creation potential of Britain's creative industries. [46323]

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Mr. Chris Smith)

The latest job survey figures produced on behalf of the Department for Education and Employment by the Office of National Statistics show that some 1.5 million people are employed in the creative industries. I intend shortly to publish the results of an exercise undertaken on behalf of the creative industries task force to map in greater detail the wealth and job-creation scope of the creative industries.

Mr. Linton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that that 1.5 million figure, coupled with the 1.7 million figure comprising those working in the tourism industries, mean that he is responsible for two of the largest industries and biggest earners of foreign exchange in the United Kingdom? Is he aware that those industries have constantly to be replenished with new talent? Will he therefore discuss with employers in the theatre, film and television industries how they can make the new deal available to young self-employed artists, especially through open learning, in the same way as the music industry has made the new deal available to young musicians?

Mr. Smith

The answer to my hon. Friend's specific question is yes. We are already in discussion with those parts of the world of the arts to ensure that they can take full advantage of the new deal. On the general point, not only are those sectors of enormous economic importance but they are currently growing at twice the rate of the overall economy. That is why we take those parts of our economy seriously—although, from their earlier comments, it is quite obvious that Opposition Members do not.