London mayor Sadiq Khan has vowed he will stand with the creative industries "every step of the way" to ensure their interests are "defended" during the upcoming Brexit negotiations.
Speaking at the Creative Industries Federation’s second anniversary celebrations last night (9th January), Khan credited the arts not only in boosting the economy but also in "helping to show that London is open”. For these reasons he planned to make culture "one of my top priorities as the mayor of London” and champion creative industries' concerns after Brexit, he said.
In acknowledgement that 96% of the Federation members were in favour of remaining in the European Union (EU), Khan said: “It’s not hard to understand why so many in the creative industries wanted us to remain in the EU and we can all understand the anxieties post-Brexit. Our creative industries are hugely reliant on international talent. Almost half of your exports go to the EU, it’s unsurprising that retaining access to the single market is a priority for you. So I pledge today I’ll stand with you every step of the way. I’ll work to ensure your concerns are addressed by our government and your interests defended during the upcoming Brexit negotiations."
Khan further expressed his grattitude towards Sir John Sorrell, who founded the Creative Industries Federation in 2014, and will be serving on his Brexit expert advisory panel as a representative of the arts and creative industries.
"There are so many Brits and Londoners ensuring our country punches above its weight culturally right now. And while Brexit may be looming large on the horizon I promise I’ll do anything I can to ensure London’s Creative Industries continue to flourish so that today’s talented youngsters can follow their dreams, fulfil their potential and one day stand on the shoulders of our cultural and creative giants," added Khan.
Culture secretary Karen Bradley said the creative industries would be "at the heart" of the government’s work on industrial strategy as one of the major growth areas in the country. "It is our soft power," she said. "And I want to reassure you that I, (Business minister) Greg [Clark], the prime minister and others, do understand just how important our industries are to the UK economy and we are going to do everything we can to give you the tools you need to continue with the amazing success you have demonstrated today and I know will continue to work on in the future. So I predict great things for you and this government is right behind you."
Business secretary Clark said the creative industries would be "absolutely foundational” to the UK’s industrial strategy and that one of the strategy's aims would be "to make sure that we [the creative industries] have all the conditions in place to extend our notable success, to help our stars to shine even brighter in the future but also to ensure sure that Britain is more than ever is the place where innovation, where creative original talents and business will choose to be based.”
Clark paid tribute to the creative industries as “Britain’s most successful industry”, highlighting that, after earning nearly £90bn in 2015, it was also “the fastest growing sector in the economy”. In his view, he said it was impossible to separate London’s economic success from its cultural success, while the economic revival of cities like Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Bristol was also partly attributable to their continuing cultural assets.
"This industry leads the way,” Clark said. "Two million people employed in all parts of the UK, a quarter of a million businesses - You make Britain what we are but you also tell the world what Britain can do.”
Both Khan and Clark commended the influence of J K Rowling's Harry Potter creation, with Khan hailing her “one of the world’s greatest authors” and Clark commending the franchise not only for creating stars in front of the camera but for highlighting the expertise of Britain's craft and technical industries and supporting jobs throughout production.
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