§ 26. Fiona Mactaggart
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the contribution of the creative and communications industries to the UK economy; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Hewitt
The creative and communications industries contributed an estimated £25 billion to the economy in 1995. Work in this area is currently under review, with an update of its assessment planned for later this year. Early indications, drawing on National Statistics, are that the corresponding estimate for the most recently available data 1997 is £33 billion, accounting for approaching 5 per cent. of Gross Domestic Product. In addition the telecommunications services industry contributed 1.9 per cent. to GDP.
The creative and communications industries are vitally important to the future economic prosperity of this country. We have joined together with DCMS and other Government Departments to try to help to maximise their competitive position. We have closely involved senior figures from the creative and communications industries in fora such as the Information Age Partnership, chaired 615W by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, and the Creative Industries Task Force, chaired by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.