Culture Secretary speech at WeCreate Conference

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer's speech to the WeCreate: Celebrating the Creative Industries Conference at the Aviva Studios in Manchester
 The Rt Hon Lucy Frazer KC MP

Good afternoon everyone.

I wanted to start with a huge thank you to all of you for making the time to be here today.

Today isn’t just about celebrating all the things that make our Creative Industries special, but it is also about looking ahead to the future to see how we, together, can chart a course that keeps these crown jewels of our economy shining for years to come.

And there’s no better place to look to that future than right here in Manchester.

As somebody who grew up not too far away in Leeds, I remember Emmerdale, visits to the IMAX in Bradford, and the arrival of the Armouries.

I soon learned at school that across the M62 Manchester was one of the cradles of the Industrial Revolution - a city dubbed ‘Cottonopolis’ in honour of its place at the epicentre of our thriving cotton industry in the 19th century.

But Manchester - as you all will know - is also a thriving place for our culture.

Oasis, Danny Boyle, Lowry.

Creativity is part of the fabric of this city today.

Just look at this venue we’re gathered here today in.

The largest cultural investment in this country since the Tate Modern two decades ago.
Built on a site already rich in creative history 

This is the former site of Granada Studios - which had hosted the Beatles’ first TV appearance and was home to Coronation Street.

And now we have this incredible multi-purpose cultural hub that will welcome millions of guests a year, support thousands of jobs across the local creative economy and host hundreds of gigs, exhibitions and events every year.

I was absolutely delighted to be here when it opened officially a month ago.

It was clear then - and it’s still clear now - that this venue will be one of the focal points of a vibrant cultural scene in Manchester and the country for decades to come.

When I was made Culture Secretary at the start of this year, I made growing those creative industries one of my main priorities.

In the past decade or so, these industries have become one of our most powerful economic engines of growth.

And if we can help more people across the country to discover and nurture their creative potential, then we will see our economy and wider society grow and grow and grow.

Earlier this year we set out a long term plan for the future of the creative industries.

The Sector Vision was developed across government and I’m delighted to be joined here today with Minister John Whittingdale and Viscount Camrose from DSIT, as well as  colleagues from the Departments for Education, and Business and Trade. 

The sector vision was developed jointly, as well as through government, with industry too through the work of the Creative Industries Council, who I met with this morning. 

And I want to work with each and every one of you to deliver on our Creative Industries Sector Vision.

It’s a blueprint with three very simple aims:

  • to grow our Creative Industries by an extra £50 billion by 2030
  • to create a million extra jobs - all over the country - by 2030
  • and to deliver a Creative Careers Promise that harnesses the potential of young people and constructs a pipeline of talent into our creative industries.

We’re already making progress towards those ambitious goals set out in our sector vision, unveiling millions in new funding to drive growth in our grassroots and scale ups and banging the drum for our creative careers.

We are doubling the number of areas in the Create Growth Programme, with almost £11 million additional funding which means we are able to provide targeted support to around 1,800 creative businesses so that they can access private investment and scale up.  

Thanks to this new funding, businesses in the East and West Midlands, West Yorkshire, Hull and East Yorkshire, the South West and the East of England will benefit from tailored workshops, mentoring and training to maximise creative potential.

Greater Manchester has been delivering this programme and an earlier pilot, and it’s because of the success we’ve seen here in transforming local creative businesses that we are expanding it to other areas today.

From today, we’re also launching applications to the £5 million Supporting Grassroots Music Fund to ensure support for the lifeblood of our world-leading music sector and cornerstones of our community.

I am also pleased that today marks the beginning of Creative Careers Week - an initiative supported by my department to inspire the next generation to go into the creative industries so we can build that pipeline of talent and I welcome the many events happening across the country to encourage more young people to consider a job in these inspiring sectors.  

But most importantly today I am here to talk and to listen to you. 

Because we can only achieve our ambitions - this growth can only happen, these jobs can only be created, this pipeline of talent will only be sustained - if you are supported to maximise your potential. 

And that is what today is about.

Some of you have been working with us already, whether that’s through our UK Global Screen Fund, The Create Growth Programme, the UK Games Fund or the UKRI Creative Clusters programme or our work with the Arts Council.

It’s great to be joined by organisations such as Production Park, HOME, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, but it’s also exciting to meet new organisations as well

Today I want to be a call to arms to all of you to share your ideas with us in Government and to work with us to unlock the creative potential of our people and our businesses - particularly here in the North.

This region is already a driver of growth across the UK economy with major employers, export intensive businesses that attract significant investment from overseas. 

We will never deliver on the goals we set out in the Creative Industries Vision without your businesses, your ideas, your imagination.

Government, industry and academic leaders across the North are already forming a grand coalition to develop a new regional strategy - The Northern Creative Corridor.

There’ll be new details about this exciting initiative announced tomorrow.

And I also recognise that it’s a difficult time at the moment.

The cost-of-living has been a bit of a perfect storm for the sectors you all represent and you’re all wrestling with different challenges: whether that’s the tight labour market, access to finance or the possible future impact of AI.

But none of this should dampen our ambition.

You know better than anyone else that the North of England emanates so much creativity and that, with the right conditions, creative businesses can flourish.

So, I’d just like to end by one final thank you to all of you for being here today and for investing your time and energy in the future of our creative industries.

I hope you find the sessions useful and that we can keep this partnership going long into the future.

I mentioned earlier this venue is the biggest cultural investment from the Government since the Tate Modern.

Today that venue is a global cultural icon, famous around the world.

I and my Ministerial team can’t wait to work with you to make this venue and our Creative Industries in the North as big a success in the years to come.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport
The Rt Hon Lucy Frazer KC MP