UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries opened the Creative Coalition virtual festival on Tuesday with a rallying speech on the creative industries, but remained silent on all questions relating to the future of broadcasters Channel 4 and the BBC.
In what appeared to be a pre-recorded segment, Dorries spoke of the music industry as examples of the UK’s “creative power”, referring to new albums by Coldplay and Adele as well as the hit song ” Levitating” by Dua Lipa. “It is our writers, our musicians, our designers and our composers who are today the most famous in the world and who do the most to sell the UK abroad,” said Dorries. “They wield incredible influence and because of that, the reputation of global Britain depends on them.”
The MP also revealed she ‘worked closely’ with ‘X Factor’ finalist Rebecca Ferguson, who last year called for a parliamentary inquiry into the music industry to hold powerful managers to account , officers and directors. The star previously revealed that she had been the victim of bullying, harassment and racial abuse from senior industry executives.
Dorries said Ferguson “bravely spoke about his own experiences of bullying and harassment in the music industry. We are looking seriously and very carefully at the issue of music streaming, competition and fair payment to ensure that the modern music industry works for everyone.
However, no details were given on what exactly an action plan will look like. (Last year, the government took on board some of the recommendations made by a report on “the economy of streaming music.”)
Dorries quickly embarked on a new £50m fundraising pot ‘to support creative businesses across the UK’. The Global Screen Fund will receive £21m, while a gaming fund will receive £8.4m. Around £18.4 million will go towards an extension of the Creative Scale-Up scheme “to support the fastest growing creative businesses across the country”.
A vision document for the creative industries sector will be released this summer, Dorries said.
Absent from Dorries’ speech, there was no indication what the Department for Culture, Media and Sport – which she oversees – will decide on the future of Channel 4, which the government wants to restructure and potentially sell . The late results of a lengthy public consultation are expected this year. It also lacked any mention of the BBC license fee, which was frozen for two years.
The Culture Secretary, who has been in the job for four months, appeared on Channel 4 News on Monday, where she defended Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is currently embroiled in a controversy over a series of government parties during the lockdown.
Johnson received a backlash on Monday when he falsely accused Labor leader Keir Starmer of failing to prosecute disgraced children’s presenter Jimmy Savile when he was Director of Public Prosecutions for the Crown Prosecution Service. There has been no evidence to date proving that Starmer was involved in the Savile decision.
Asked about the Prime Minister’s comments, Dorries repeatedly said “I don’t know” and assured that “the Prime Minister is telling the truth”.