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In her first major speech to the sector, new Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer speaks of the importance of the arts and outlines her ambitions in the role.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer delivering her speech at the Creative Coalition Festival
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer delivering her speech at the Creative Coalition Festival

The creative industries are a 'key priority' for government, and their growth will be supported through a focus on improving skills and supporting towns and cities where the sector is developing, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer has said.

Speaking at the opening of the Creative Coalition Festival at the Southbank Centre in London on Tuesday (28 February), Frazer said a shake-up of DCMS last month, which saw some responsibilities shifted to the newly-formed Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, had put the department in "a really strong position".

"We can now dedicate all of our energy on the sectors at the heart of our portfolio, which is particularly the creative industries," she said.


"The creative industries are a key priority for the Prime Minister. They are a priority for the Chancellor who has already 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."

Frazer said that in her first few weeks in the role she had been on a "whistlestop tour of Britain's creative landscape". 

"During those few weeks I have seen with my own eyes just how much talent we have in this country," she said. 

"The writers, the musicians, the lighting and sound technicians, the designers and the producers. Those people aren't just making good things - they are the workforce powering our country, pumping £116bn into the national purse every year.

"The creative industries enrich our lives in every sense of the word. And when they thrive, the country thrives."

'Meaning and hope'

She also spoke of her experience of the how the arts can affect lives from her previous roles in government. 

"As prisons minister I saw first-hand how pivotal drama and art can be to rehabilitation. In helping people find purpose, meaning and hope, and improving their skills for life outside their four walls. 

"As a 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'm looking to bring that experience to bear in this role, to push the creative industries to a new level of growth in the coming years."

Frazer said the government is already giving a "huge level of support" to the creative industries, which she hopes to "push to the next level" by focusing on two things - people and places.

"On people, I know a key challenge for the sector is skills. Our film and TV industries for instance are booming. They are creating thousands of jobs and we need people to fill them. Yet a recent survey of young people by the British Film Institute found only six per cent believed a career in the screen industries was achievable. 

"So we need to work together to give people the right skills and awareness from a young age so they can join these booming industries and enjoy fulfilling and well-paid jobs."

Driving growth

She added that, in terms of 'places' she wants to use the creative industries to "drive growth in every corner of the UK". 

She said more than half of creative jobs are in London and the South East, and is keen to look at how the entire country can feel the benefits of sector growth. 

"There are certain hotspots outside London and the South East where creativity is absolutely booming, where certain creative industries form natural clusters. 

"I'm really interested in how we continue to boost those clusters. We need to work across government so we build homes and train stations in areas where our creative industries are thriving. 

"I'm interested in how we give businesses in those areas even more opportunities to innovate, to access investment and to export the best of British creativity abroad."

Frazer also outlined her hopes for the government's forthcoming Creative Industries Sector Vision which is due to be published imminiently.

"When the sector vision is published it will kick start a whole new round of engagement together," she said. 

"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 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 the growth is. I really want to capitalise on that moment and help to use it to drive the sector to new heights for the benefit of the entire country."