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I make this point about fashion partly because many see it as frivolous, trivial and a conscience-free zone. But the number and quality of organisations that have signed up to the actions demonstrate the importance and economic significance of the market. Larger companies that have signed up, such as Tesco, Sainsbury and Marks & Spencer, are well known and have the resources and clout to make an impact, but they are not the prime focus of my remarks. It is the small-scale, innovative designers such as From Somewhere, Adili and People Tree that need support, especially those that have been pioneers of ethical fashion for a decade or more.

This economic climate is particularly unfavourable for the SMEs and micro-enterprises that populate the creative industries in general and the fashion industry in particular. I would very much like to hear from the Minister about initiatives under way at government level. In London, we are fortunate to have had the

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GLA produce several booklets of guidelines on becoming green in different areas, such as Green Screen Guide, Green Music Guide and Green Theatre Guide. Is anything besides the SCAP happening at a national level that can facilitate the further development of the creative sector and maintain its reputation for innovation, is economically resilient with a 21st-century skills set and is socially responsible and environmentally sustainable?

12.21 pm

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: My Lords, I thank my noble friend Lord Bragg for his initiative in securing this important debate and for his entertaining and forceful review of our creative life. I grew up in Scotland before television, and a pretty bleak time it was. Our most exciting cultural activities were watching films and listening to music from America. We saw very little that reflected our own lives, and a career in what we now call the “creative industries” was open to very few. Well, how things have changed.

When I left school in the mid-1950s, about four pupils in 100 went on to university. Today, almost half of pupils go on to higher education, more than half of whom are women—another remarkable measure of our progress in the past half-century. And, of course, many of those students now choose media-related courses, or study for careers in other creative activities.

As chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University, I see hundreds of gifted media students graduating each year. In recent times, their options for further training have multiplied in all sorts of fascinating niches. For instance, as a former television executive, I am delighted to see our university being used by broadcasters and independent producers, led by Shed Productions, to train scriptwriters of long-form dramas, from serials to soap operas, with the opportunity of working live on location.

In previous educational roles, on the council of Sussex University, as a governor of the National Film and Television School and as a visiting professor of film and media studies at Stirling University, I endured all the inane jibes about “Mickey Mouse” degrees in media studies. My most effective response was to say that when I was chief executive of Scottish Television, there was nothing “Mickey Mouse” about the profits that we made producing the “Disney Club” each week for ITV.

However, it took a long time to persuade politicians and opinion-formers that our creative work was also a serious business, in which Britain often led the world. I think that that argument has been won, and it is accepted that we are now well into the revolution that is shaping a very different, service-based, online economy.

I recall back in the 1990s a pioneering effort by Glasgow, an industrial city in decline, to rebrand itself, quite brilliantly, as the first European City of Culture, although that, for me as a Glaswegian, is a title permanently held by Edinburgh, which hosts each August the most exuberant collection of festivals anywhere on the planet. Once dismissed as arty and frivolous, that festival is now seen as an economic and aesthetic treasure—and I speak as a former chair of the Edinburgh

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Film Festival who endured what Bernard Levin once denounced as Edinburgh’s “annual ceremony of the grudging of the money”.

Just last month, our ambitious and successful arts festival in Brighton, where I now live, attracted many visitors from abroad and kicked off a summer holiday season. As my noble friend Lord Bragg said, we must surely marvel at all the activity that is going on: music festivals, book festivals, art exhibitions, poetry readings, opera events, free and more attractive museums and, as the noble Lord, Lord Roberts, said, dance groups such as Diversity from Dagenham—Britain has indeed got talent.

We have all this, and Liz Forgan now chairing the Arts Council, where we shall all benefit from the bubbling energy of the kind which she showed in her time running BBC Radio and, before that, at Channel 4, where she helped create a whole new industry sector of independent producers of television. Six hundred indie companies now turn over about £2 billion a year and employ more than 20,000 people. It is another huge success in our media sector, helping us to maintain our reputation for producing the world’s best broadcasting.

As noble Lords will hear in a later debate today, your Lordships’ Select Committee on Communications has been conducting inquiries into the state of our television and film industries. Here it is not, alas, all good news. One great achievement of broadcasting policy in the UK was the creation of a network of commercial broadcasters, mostly based in the regions and coming together in the national ITV network to compete with the BBC in the quality of their public service broadcasting. For 50 years, this very robust business was funded by television advertising, but the ITV network now faces acute problems. Despite maintaining pretty decent audience ratings, ITV sees its advertising migrating to online services. Newspapers are also in financial trouble, as ad revenue is sucked out of the UK economy by global operators such as Google. The ITV regional companies have now mostly been absorbed into a consolidated ITV plc, based increasingly in London.

To compensate for the loss of ITV production from centres across the English regions, I am sure that the Minister will want to give every encouragement to the BBC in its plans to devolve operations outside London. Perhaps Ofcom, while considering how best to support ITV, would have a word with it about its obligations to support training in television by renewing its vital contribution to Skillset, the sector skills council for the creative media. Skillset does a great job and support for it should be mandatory from all companies that benefit from our systems of public service broadcasting. Our talent base is what underpins the success of our television industry at home and in international markets, and is also what attracts international film makers to shoot in Britain and work with British crews. I congratulate the DCMS and, in particular, our own the noble Lord, Lord Smith, on setting up the UK Film Council, which has been a force for progress across what has always been a rather unco-ordinated but talent-driven business. That talent has to be trained, as my generation was not, to maintain the remarkable position that the UK has achieved as a global leader in the creative industries.

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I trust that the Minister and politicians of all parties will follow a basic rule of business; invest in success and back your winners. If we are in for a lengthy recession and the possible shrinking of the financial sector, it is all the more important that the Government continue to invest in new skills and talent, which will build new creative businesses, starting in our schools and universities. The White Paper on Digital Britain, to be published later this month, will highlight the challenges and opportunities of the online revolution.

Let us be under no illusions: a wave of disruptive technology is sweeping across our creative industries. We are already counting the casualties in regional newspapers and television. Piracy has to be suppressed; global predators and free-riders have to be confronted. Levies may have to be imposed to pay for the support of this vital industry sector, which is a creative cluster of talent, uniquely British—and irreplaceable if allowed to atrophy. Above all, we need strategies in government that help our creative industries to understand and deploy these new technologies ahead of other nations. I hope that the Minister and official bodies such as Ofcom will conclude that, in times such as these, they may have to be as radical as reality itself.

12.28 pm

Lord Colwyn: My Lords, since adding my name to the speakers list only a few days ago, I have received briefing documents on a wide variety of subjects, which highlight the importance of our debate this morning. I have heard from ITV, Channel 4 and Sky Arts. I have received information on the Digital Britain report, highlighting the need to protect and create jobs in the creative industries. PPL has contacted me on the problems of copyright infringement and stressed that that lies at the core of the business models of all the creative industries. I have notes on online piracy and illegal file sharing.

Although I am grateful for this information, it is important that I remind your Lordships of the significant contribution of jazz to the economy. I declare an interest as a very mediocre trumpet player and co-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group. We had to change the name from the All-Party Jazz Group to the All-Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group because of all the requests that came to Westminster to book the non-existent parliamentary jazz band.

Today musicians throughout the country play jazz. Many UK jazz musicians have developed international reputations for live performance and have recordings that are seen and bought by a worldwide audience. There is an active jazz scene in all major UK cities. Mature musicians with established reputations and young musicians, many with great flair and originality, seek a serious audience who can understand and enjoy their music. They perform in a variety of settings: concert halls, arts centres, hotels, ballrooms, village halls, restaurants and coffee and public houses. Every year there are jazz festivals all over the country, many attracting some of the finest jazz musicians in the world. More than 3 million people patronise these events with five times that amount expressing a definable interest in jazz.

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On 20 May, the parliamentary group—sponsored by PPL—hosted the widely acclaimed parliamentary jazz awards, where we recognised the contribution made by musicians, their recordings, broadcasters, educators, journalists and jazz venues.

The annual turnover of the jazz sector of the British music industry is in excess of £88 million. The report by Jazz Services Ltd as part of its Arts Council England lottery development project found that sales of CDs through shops and websites and at gigs reached almost £40 million, while ticket sales for jazz concerts and festivals were worth £22.5 million.

The Value of Jazz in Britain report estimated that there were over 45,000 jazz performances per year in the UK and said that a significant area of growth was the number of annual festivals. A survey of jazz promoters showed that half of pub gigs were given free of charge or cost £5 or less to enter. The typical admission charge for a jazz club event was between £5 and £7.50, while tickets for concerts at arts centres or concert halls typically cost between £7.50 and £10. The income of promoters and musicians from admission charges is supplemented by public funding from arts councils and local authorities, with smaller amounts from arts charities and commercial sponsors. The report estimates that jazz received over £4 million per year in public funding and a much smaller amount in commercial sponsorship.

Audience research on music and other art forms showed that over 3 million adults had attended at least one jazz performance in the previous year, with a core audience for jazz estimated at 500,000 compared to 400,000 for classical music concerts and 100,000 for folk music events.

Sadly, as the noble Lord, Lord Bragg, mentioned, the performance of jazz has been restricted by the licensing legislation. The Act included the playing of recorded music in the description of regulated entertainment, but it was changed in the transition to the new regime for existing bars, pubs, restaurants, hotels and any premises that were already licensed to sell alcohol. Those places were allowed to keep jukeboxes or other systems for the playing of incidental recorded sound and broadcast events, no matter how powerful the amplification. However, the automatic permission to have one or two musicians in such venues—amplified or not—has ceased. That was the live performer element of the so called two-in-a-bar rule, which, since 1961, had been available in those premises as an exception from the general requirement to hold a public entertainment licence for live music. This restrictive legislation has had serious implications for jazz. It has removed hundreds of venues where young musicians can perform and learn to play to an audience.

As a result of extensive lobbying, the Government announced on 18 July 2008 an examination of the effects of the Licensing Act and the impact on live music. In evidence, the committee heard from UK Music and the licensed trade that the Act was harming small gigs. Despite that, the Government seem now to have abandoned their promise to hold in the spring of this year a public consultation on further exemptions for low-risk performances.

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In March 2009, the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, asked why the consultation had not taken place. The noble Lord, Lord Davies, replied:

“There is no formal review of the live music provisions of the Licensing Act 2003. However, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport continues to discuss the effect of the Licensing Act 2003 on live music with representatives of musicians and local government. These discussions include consideration of how low impact live music events might be further encouraged”.—[Official Report, 24/3/09; col. WA122.]

A report by the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, published on 14 May, agreed that something more needed to be done to try to make it easier for smaller and secondary venues to host live music performance. It states, on page 30:

“We recommend that the Government should exempt venues with a capacity of 200 persons or fewer from the need to obtain a licence for the performance of live music. We further recommend the reintroduction of the ‘two-in-a-bar’ exemption enabling venues of any size to put on a performance of non-amplified music by one or two musicians without the need for a licence. We believe that these two exemptions would encourage the performance of live music without impacting negatively on any of the four licensing objectives under the Act”.

I know that the Minister will have a look at this. I am concerned that draft DCMS guidance that accompanies the new minor variations amendment includes a very weak statement in support of live music applications. It says that,

Could it be that, despite government promises of a public consultation this spring on further exemptions for live music, faced by Local Government Association opposition, Ministers have little enthusiasm for such exemptions in pubs and bars?

I have a final thought. Can the Minister comment on the plan by Sing London to place 30 pianos in different areas of London? Some of the sites will be in licensed areas, but some will not. Will he be advising the local authorities how this contravention of the licensing law will be managed?

12.36 pm

Lord Puttnam: My Lords, I, too, am extremely grateful to my noble friend Lord Bragg for initiating this debate, which comes just a week or two ahead of my noble friend Lord Carter’s Digital Britainreport. This Labour Government, I am proud to say, and my noble friend Lord Smith of Finsbury should take enormous credit for having put the creative industries on the public policy map since 1997.

Twelve years on, and with a severe contraction in our financial services sector as well as elsewhere in the economy, it feels as though the creative industries’ time has finally arrived. We have the strongest creative talent base in the world, certainly on a per capita basis and possibly even on an absolute basis. We need to invest in that talent and to harness it to both our

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industrial and our cultural ends. Should we do so, the rewards will be immense. I should like to identify myself with the remarks made by my noble friend Lord Macdonald of Tradeston in what I thought was a marvellous speech about the talent base. The talent base is everything. Without the talents and skills, this entire debate becomes, I am afraid, something of a waste of time; with them, it becomes packed with potential.

The really big thing that has happened since 1997 in relation to this sector is the serious arrival of digital technology. My noble friend Lord Carter, who sadly is not in his seat today, knows this better than anyone in your Lordships’ House, and I am sure that we all look forward to the imminent publication of his report.

The digital environment, and the huge changes that it brings with it in terms of access to audiences and the use of our creative output, is a massive opportunity. It means, for example, that organisations such as the Tate, the Royal Opera House, the National Theatre and the British Film Institute, all of which were once thought of simply as cultural organisations, are suddenly in the digital content business—and on a global level. The Royal Opera House and its production arm, Opus Arte, are now delivering their productions to cinemas across the UK, Europe, the United States and well beyond. Last year, over 450 million people in China saw one of its productions.

Some of this work is being done in 3D. As anyone who has seen a demonstration of 3D cinema knows, it pretty well knocks your socks off. Tate Media has taken one of the best-known brands in the country and created and commissioned content that expands on and contextualises its activities in all sorts of innovative ways via its Tate Player. Later this month, the National Theatre will screen “Phaedra” with Helen Mirren live to a chain of cinemas across the UK. This is a huge opportunity for the UK, culturally and commercially. In fact, the two happily go hand in hand. Building on our cultural assets, we can create global commercial value, while also delighting audiences at home who, both as taxpayers and as lottery players, helped to subsidise that content in the first place.

However, the creation of new content, vital though it may be, is only part of the contribution that our creative industries can make in a digital age. I happen to think that we are simultaneously entering a fascinating phase in the development of this country’s literal treasure trove of archival content. Much of it was funded by the public purse in the name of our creative industries, although they were not called that at the time, and much of it was for years hidden from public view. In other words, they are creative assets that have not been allowed to sweat their value to the benefit of the creative economy and, indeed, to the broader public. This content is staggeringly rich and diverse, ranging from hundreds of episodes of “The South Bank Show”, courtesy of my noble friend Lord Bragg, to award-winning amateur films about life in rural England, few of which have ever seen the light of projection.

I offer just one example. Inspired, I am sure, by the runaway success of its Mitchell and Kenyon titles, the British Film Institute moved up a gear last year with

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the restoration and release of the public information masterpieces, which it put out on DVD, entirely made up of archival material. The British Transport Films collection, the stunning collection of public information films collected together under the generic title “Land of Promise” and the GPO film packages are all absolutely invaluable to anyone with the remotest interest in this nation’s recent past.

The next phase is to really build on the BFI’s existing online activities, such as, and make sure that schools and colleges of every kind across the UK make use of these films in citizenship classes and, indeed, in modern history classes. These are films that can and should be used for a whole series of different purposes. It is hard to argue the case for producing a brilliant series on British Rail if it is going to reach and engage only a few hundred rail anoraks; I sincerely apologise in advance to those one or two anoraks who invariably emerge from the depths of your Lordships’ House as world experts on pretty well every subject on earth. On the other hand, if, through films such as these, citizens across the UK, young and old, develop a better understanding of the overwhelming importance of our transport infrastructure, that can surely only be a good thing. There is real added value in ensuring that, for example, a national debate on the future of rail is both informed and stimulated as a result of the availability of such material.

Within the context of many issues surrounding future sustainability, such films suddenly become an even more valuable teaching and learning resource. Until we encourage people, particularly young people, past the so-called expert custodians and allow them to understand the implications of the many irreversible decisions being made daily on their behalf, we are merely delaying the opportunity of creating a more engaged, better informed and more responsible citizenry.

Let me put that another way. By combining the availability of an extremely rich array of material from the UK’s archive and the possibilities offered by digital technologies, we have the opportunity of looking at things and, as it were, reassembling them. We can try to reimagine our world as it might be, or even as it might become. All this is part of what is really an enormous opportunity for the strategy for UK screen heritage, for which the Government have recently given the UK Film Council a capital allocation to begin to bring forward.

I am also enormously encouraged by the work that Roly Keating is now leading as director of archive content at the BBC. The decision by the BBC’s management to make one of its most senior executives head of this whole area signals something very important. It is the kind of management change that suggests a serious interest in releasing this potential.

Tony Ageh, the BBC’s controller of archive development, recently came up with an extraordinary and prescient analogy in which he compares archives to energy. He makes the point that coal has for ever lain underground and was for millennia just sitting there to be dug up from time to time because it burns slowly and you can warm yourself by it. Basically, it was an entirely passive asset. However, eventually someone realised that this coal stuff was really quite

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useful. Under the right conditions you can generate sufficient heat to make tools and weapons and do all sorts of other useful things. A few thousand years go by and along comes James Watt, with another enormous leap forward to the realisation that you can turn heat into steam and thus generate energy, so passive coal became active energy. Surely that is exactly what we should now be trying to do in moving our archives from their passive, collection-based status to a thorough-going, energy-generating, productive resource—effectively a brand-new form of invaluable intellectual energy for our creative economy. As during the first Industrial Revolution, culture and commerce can go hand in hand as an engine of growth.

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