This afternoon, I will put forward the case in Parliament for greater support for the UK’s creative industries and their contribution to the UK economy.
In April, I applied to the Backbench Business Committee, along with fellow MPs, Michelle Thomson and Chris White, for this debate to take place in the House of Commons.
I argued at the time that the launch of the first Culture White Paper in more than 50 years shows that there is a real appetite for discussion on this topic and I believe now is the right time for the Government to recognise the importance of creativity.
The creative and cultural industries have never been so valuable. Over 20,000 people are employed in 6,000 organisations in the North East’s creative and cultural sector and a further 3,375 are employed in cultural and heritage institutions.
Jobs in the creative industries have increased three times faster than the UK average and, as such, we are fortunate that in our city, we have the University of Sunderland, a university that specialises in courses that equip graduates with the skills needed by the creative sector.Our city is a truly wonderful place for creativity as shown in our Sunderland 2021 bid to be the UK’s City of Culture.
We have a thriving music scene, many regeneration projects are taking place in Sunderland and there are a number of initiatives, events and projects in which we can all take part.
We recently hosted the UK’s only free graphic novel expo, Wonderlands, and last week, we saw the second annual Sunderland Shorts Film Festival, an international film festival funded by Sunderland Council and delivered by a team of freelance and small businesses.
I look forward to showcasing the very best of our city in the House of Commons this afternoon.