Leading publishing figures, including Waterstones m.d James Daunt, chair of Penguin Random House UK Gail Rebuck, author Philip Pullman and poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, have signed a letter to say they believe leaving the European Union would "severely weaken" the UK's creative industries.
The letter, organised by the Britain is Stronger in Europe campaign and published in the Guardian and Telegraph, said the EU "bolsters Britain’s leading role on the world stage" and branded any decision to leave the EU "a leap into the unknown for millions of people in the UK who work in the creative industries, and for the millions more at home and abroad who benefit from the vibrancy of Britain’s cultural sector".
Signatories of the letter, among which were also writers John le Carre, Dame Hilary Mantel and Sir Ian McEwan, as well as Canongate m.d. Jamie Byng and novelist and co-founder of the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction Kate Mosse, argued that leaving the EU would damage the UK's cultural sector, which relies on EU funding as well as collaborating across borders.
They joined almost 300 UK stars backing the letter, including actors Jude Law, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kiera Knightly; comedians Jo Brand and Eddie Izzard; directors Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) and Sam Taylor-Wood (50 Shades of Grey); and other prominent cultural figures in the creative industries such as Dame Vivienne Westwood.
The letter read: "From the smallest gallery to the biggest blockbuster, many of us have worked on projects that would never have happened without EU funding or collaborating across borders. Britain is not just stronger in the EU, it is more imaginative and creative. Our global creative success would be severely weakened by walking away."
It added: "From the Bard to Bowie, British creativity inspires the world. We believe being part of the EU bolsters Britain’s leading role on the world stage. Let’s not become an outsider shouting from the wings."
Prime Minister David Cameron and culture minister Ed Vaizey met with some of the letter's signatories on Friday at Abbey Road studios. Cameron urged UK voters to listen to the letter's message because the creative industries contributes £84bn to the British economy.
House of Cards writer Lord Dobbs however told the BBC British success in the creative industries was "not because of the EU".
He said: "Our creative industries are booming because of the talent that is in Britain's DNA.
"We are world leaders in so many creative areas. From theatre to literature, video games, feature films, fashion, music and so much else, British artists lead the way and are celebrated around the globe. It's a success that has been created by the dedication, hard work and extraordinary."
The letter follows a debate between Lord Peter Mandelson and Sir William Cash at them Publishers Association's a.g.m. on Wednesday, during which Lord Mandelson said EU protection of copyright for authors and creators was "crucial" to the publishing business.
"Whatever it is, putting up barriers, or not taking down the ones that exist, is a huge missed opportunity for business and indeed what you sell," Lord Mandelson said.
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