On Thursday 22 February, I asked the minister for International Trade what assurances he could give to Bristol’s creative industries that they would be supported if – reluctantly – we are to leave the European Union. The government have had few – if any – answers to reassure the cultural sector in Bristol about the challenges we face by our departure from the European Union. The Musicians’ Union are campaigning to ensure that musicians who tour across countries in Europe retain free movement across borders, because their members are concerned that the loss of visa-free travel to our nearest neighbours will make it impossible for them to make a living.
More than 600 businesses in Bristol contribute to the creative and artistic life of our city, employing actors, artists, musicians, filmmakers, animators, video game designers, writers, technicians, directors and much more besides. A recent survey from Bristol City Council indicated that cultural organisations across the city had an economic impact of over £90 million to Bristol’s economy.
Music, arts, and digital creative industries are a major export for Bristol and our cultural influence is felt all over the world. A responsible government would look to protect the contribution Bristol’s art and culture makes to our economy, to our global reputation, and to our quality of life. It’s beyond frustrating that so often the government offer platitudes to the challenges that Brexit poses, rather than the answers and security we so clearly need.
The creative sector in Bristol West—particularly the music industry—is important, and trade in that sector is a service industry. What steps are the Government taking to ensure that the creative industries, particularly the music industry, are supported as we leave the EU?
Greg Hands (Minister for Trade Policy)
The hon. Lady is quite right to point out the importance of services to our trade. Overall, services represent 80% of our economy and 79% of jobs. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and the whole team are working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to ensure that we continue to grow exports from our creative sector and that investment from abroad continues to come into the sector. We often visit places such as Tech City UK and techUK, and we are working closely with them to ensure that we have a flourishing future for our creative industries.
You can watch the exchange here: