Oral Answers to Questions

Lucy Frazer Excerpts
Thursday 11th January 2024

(4 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) (Con)
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2. Whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential impact of tax relief on the growth of the creative industries.

Lucy Frazer Portrait The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Lucy Frazer)
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Let me begin by welcoming the Minister back to her place. Since 2012, the Conservative Government have introduced tax reliefs for the creative industries year on year. That is one of the reasons why the creative industries are growing at twice the rate of the rest of the economy, and why they are world leading. The Labour party opposed every single one of those tax reliefs, and despite its warm words it offers no substantive action.

Stephen Metcalfe Portrait Stephen Metcalfe
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As my right hon. and learned Friend says, since we came to office we have introduced a number of tax reliefs that have supported children's television, video games, production, galleries, orchestras, theatres and museums. It is for the Chancellor to decide on tax policy, but can my right hon. and learned Friend tell us what more she can do to make this go further, to ensure that we remain one of the world’s leading production venues?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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We have indeed introduced many tax reliefs, and since we came to office I have instigated and backed the introduction of tax reliefs and other support for the sector. Independent film making has been supported with more than £60 million of Government and national lottery funding, and I have recently spoken to representatives of the independent sector to establish how we can provide further support. However, as my hon. Friend has pointed out, matters of tax are ultimately matters for the Chancellor.

Deidre Brock Portrait Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith) (SNP)
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I have a suggestion for the Minister. When I met several film, television and advertising companies in my constituency recently, they pointed out that Malta and Mauritius have a 40% rebate which also covers commercials, and that Ireland will be following suit with a 40% rebate on reality TV and game shows. These are the bread-and-butter products of the industry, and they have a huge impact on local areas where filming takes place. The UK is falling behind in this respect. What discussions is the Secretary of State having with the Treasury and other colleagues about the matter?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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I assure the hon. Lady that I have regular discussions with the Treasury and the industry about how we can continue to support this vital sector. We are not falling behind. We are world leading, and we need to maintain that competitive edge. Our screen sector tax reliefs are estimated to have delivered over 200,000 new jobs and more than £13 billion in economic output.

Munira Wilson Portrait Munira Wilson (Twickenham) (LD)
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3. What steps she is taking to help increase community access to playing fields.

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Michael Fabricant Portrait Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con)
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9. What steps her Department is taking to support the growth of the film and television industry.

Lucy Frazer Portrait The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Lucy Frazer)
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We have seen significant growth in the film and TV industries. The support that we have taken includes reforms to audiovisual tax reliefs, uplifts for animation and children’s TV, and £28 million of investment in the UK global screen fund. As I have said, the Labour party voted against all our tax reliefs and, as far as I am aware, has offered no funding to those industries.

Michael Fabricant Portrait Michael Fabricant
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I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for her answer. She will know that there is now more studio space for feature film production in the home counties than there is in Hollywood. However, there is a vulnerability. We found that out at the time of the American writers and actors’ strikes, when a number of my friends, and many other people who are not my friends, were made redundant temporarily because film production halted. How can we make the British film industry more independent of the American production machine?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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I know that my hon. Friend is himself a veteran of the silver screen, appearing in the brilliant British “House of Cards”. Our film industry is world leading. He is right that the strikes caused disruption. We work very closely with our partners in other jurisdictions. One example is the international hit film “Barbie”, which was filmed in the UK, supported 750 jobs, added £80 million to our economy and earned more than £1.1 billion at the global box office. We needed to ensure that the film industry could continue to thrive after the strikes, which is why we are continuing to support the industry with tax incentives, funding pots and, importantly, the development of a skills pipeline to ensure success long into the future.

Rob Butler Portrait Rob Butler (Aylesbury) (Con)
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10. Whether she has had recent discussions with the BBC Board on the impartiality of the BBC’s current affairs coverage.

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Andrew Jones Portrait Andrew Jones (Harrogate and Knaresborough) (Con)
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12. What progress she has made on increasing women and girls’ access to sport.

Lucy Frazer Portrait The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Lucy Frazer)
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Women and girls should have exactly the same access to sport as boys and men. That is why we supported the recommendations in Karen Carney’s excellent report. It is why we are investing £600 million to boost equal access to sport, and why we recently announced £30 million for the Lionesses Futures Fund to deliver 30 pitches across the country with priority access for women and girls, with further opportunities for 8,000 women and girls.

Andrew Jones Portrait Andrew Jones
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We have had fantastic success with women’s football, particularly the Lionesses, including Harrogate’s Rachel Daly, who has been a great inspiration locally, but what steps is my right hon. and learned Friend taking to ensure that sports with a smaller following can sustain a competitive grassroots environment for girls?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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I recognise Rachel’s success as the top scorer in the women’s super league last year. We support sport at every level. Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign, funded by the Government, inspires millions of women and girls to get involved in all sports. The School Games programme, also funded by the Government, encourages children to take up sport and get active.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
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I call the shadow Secretary of State.

Thangam Debbonaire Portrait Thangam Debbonaire (Bristol West) (Lab)
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Unfortunately, in recent weeks there has been a spate of disgusting sexist, misogynistic abuse directed towards sportswomen just for being at the top of their game. I know that the Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the right hon. Member for Pudsey (Stuart Andrew), has been on the receiving end just for standing up to it, which I commend him for. I agree with him that vile, misogynistic comments are dangerous. The reality is that they are putting women and girls off sport. Does the Secretary of State agree that every sporting organisation should have a strategy to eliminate all forms of sexual harassment and abuse?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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I agree with the hon. Member: we should not have misogynistic, bullying behaviour in sport, and all governing bodies should be looking at what their sports are doing. We set out in our sports strategy how we should have fair competition and integrity in sport.

Thangam Debbonaire Portrait Thangam Debbonaire
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The Secretary of State mentioned the Carney review, but I am afraid that the Government seem to be failing women’s football on that, with a complete lack of detail about how the implementation group to put into practice the Carney review recommendations will work. Without senior leadership, that group will not have the teeth that it needs, and all the hard work will be put at risk. Fans, players and clubs deserve urgent action and leadership from the top. If the Secretary of State does not reform the women’s game and give it the same prominence as the men’s, I will. Will she commit to chairing the implementation group, and reporting back to Parliament so that MPs can hold her to account?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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I completely dispute what the hon. Member says about our support for women in sport, and women in football. I have had the pleasure of meeting Karen Carney on a number of occasions. Her report is excellent. We endorse all its recommendations, many of which are for the FA, which I have also spoken to on this subject. I will ensure that the recommendations are fulfilled. The implementation board will have all the governing bodies on it. Its first meeting is in March. I will keep a very close eye on the board, and will work very closely with my right hon. Friend the Under-Secretary on that and every other issue.

Peter Aldous Portrait Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con)
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T1. If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities.

Lucy Frazer Portrait The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Lucy Frazer)
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As 2023 drew to a close, official statistics highlighted that under this Government the creative industries continued to thrive. They now employ almost 2.5 million workers, a growth of 4.4%, so we are well on our way to meeting our objectives to grow the creative industries by £50 billion and increase employment by 1 million by 2030.

Peter Aldous Portrait Peter Aldous
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Local commercial radio, whether in Lancashire or Suffolk, can fill the gap left by the reduction in BBC local radio coverage, but in the Lowestoft and Waveney area it is constrained in doing so, as the local digital audio broadcasting network has not been extended to cover the area. Please can my right hon. and learned Friend arrange for that important infrastructure, which is available throughout most of the UK, to be extended to north-east Suffolk as soon as possible?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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I completely agree with my hon. Friend on the importance of local radio to listeners across the UK, and I know that he is an effective campaigner for his local area. The BBC and commercial radio are responsible for the operation of their respective radio networks, including the DAB radio networks, but I have asked my officials to engage with local DAB multiplex operators and broadcasters to look at whether there is a desire to increase local DAB coverage further.

John Spellar Portrait John  Spellar  (Warley)  (Lab)
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T2. Does the Secretary of State agree that, in the media world, content is king, and that that is why we must support our world-leading creative talent? Will she take steps to require artificial intelligence developers to provide songwriters and composers with detailed information as to how their works are being used, including when authorisation has been granted for use of those works as training data?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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The right hon. Member is absolutely right about the importance of protecting the original work of the creative industries. I have held a number of roundtables to ensure that we protect that originality. The Intellectual Property Office is working on that very issue, and I have been liaising with it and with the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology.

Laurence Robertson Portrait Mr Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury) (Con)
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T3. The Secretary of State will be aware that the Premier League and the English Football League have held meetings, and yet have failed to come up with a solution for a fairer redistribution of funding. Given their inability to come to an agreement, will she get the two sides together round the table—she is probably already doing it—to encourage them to come up with a solution? Failing that, if legislation is necessary, will she consider it, because we do not want to see any clubs going under?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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It is absolutely right that a deal should be done. The Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Pudsey (Stuart Andrew), and I have been encouraging all the authorities to come to an arrangement. We have been clear that if no arrangement is reached, there will obviously be a backstop in the legislation for the football regulator that we will bring forward to the House shortly.

Patricia Gibson Portrait Patricia Gibson (North Ayrshire and Arran) (SNP)
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T5. As the Secretary of State will be aware, charities are facing an extremely challenging fundraising environment and, at the same time, are trying to respond to increased demands due to the cost of living crisis. Will she explain why the Government continue to impose sales restrictions on charity lottery fundraising, the removal of which would not cost the Treasury a single penny, but would ensure much-needed additional funds for charitable causes? That would hugely benefit communities in my constituency and across the whole UK.

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Andy Carter Portrait Andy Carter (Warrington South) (Con)
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Given Ofcom’s comments that it is considering whether its proposals for regulation of local radio are still appropriate in the light of the BBC’s changes to local radio provision, does the Minister agree that the BBC’s mid-term review is a good opportunity to look at how the BBC delivers for older audiences, particularly in its local radio provision?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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The mid-term review is a very important point where we can look further, and indeed have looked further, at a number of issues, including competition, complaints and impartiality. We will be publishing the results of the mid-term review very shortly.

Matt Western Portrait Matt Western (Warwick and Leamington) (Lab)
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The Minister will know that Warwick and Leamington—Leamington being also known as Silicon Spa—enjoys the greatest concentration of games companies in the world. I appreciate what was said in the autumn statement, but there is a skills shortage. Can the Minister update us on what is being done to address that?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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The gaming industry in this country is world leading, and I have had the pleasure of visiting a number of gaming companies to see how they are thriving. We have a creative industries skills package, which we committed to in the creative industries sector vision, to ensure a pipeline of talent all the way from primary school right up until someone’s second or third job, and there are measures at every single one of those steps.

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn (Carshalton and Wallington) (Con)
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Wallington FC is an amazing local football club in Roundshaw, in Carshalton and Wallington, but it is having trouble maintaining its lease with the new owners and its very old sports pavilion needs an overhaul. Can the Minister set out what support is available from the Department or other organisations to help with that?

Kirsten Oswald Portrait Kirsten Oswald (East Renfrewshire) (SNP)
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Performers in the UK are having their images, voices or likenesses reproduced by others using AI technology, without their consent. The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, which regulates performers’ intellectual property, does not account for AI. When will this Government act to protect the rights of artists, performers and other creatives in the UK, or are they content to see this continued exploitation and violation of people’s intellectual property rights?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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The hon. Member will know that in the UK we have world-leading protections for copyright and intellectual property. We want to make sure that, as we move into a new technological age with generative AI, we continue to protect creative work. I assure her that we are working closely with the industry and the Intellectual Property Office to ensure that we get the best protections we can, and I know that an update on the IPO’s work will be published shortly.

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Rachael Maskell Portrait Rachael Maskell (York Central) (Lab/Co-op)
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Labour has a programme for a new generation of youth hubs, because we know that our young people are struggling with mental health challenges, school, themselves and others, and some are being picked off by criminal gangs. In contrast with our programme, the YMCA has identified a 70% cut in funding since 2010 and a loss of 4,500 frontline youth workers. When will the Government invest in our young people and in a comprehensive youth service?

Lucy Frazer Portrait Lucy Frazer
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I am grateful for the hon. Lady’s question, because this is something I feel very passionately about. I am very proud that we are investing £500 million in our national youth guarantee, and that we already have in place a programme to build youth clubs—we have already built 87 throughout the country, spending £300 million. We want constructive things for people to do, which is why we are spending £300 million on our sports pitches. I have strengthened the statutory guidance in relation to what local authorities are required to do, and we are working across Departments to ensure that our young people have something to do, somewhere to go and someone to talk to.

The hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—