British Film Industry

A couple of weeks ago on these pages I mentioned a much loved movie – Groundhog Day.  Indeed, I recall referring to films fairly frequently in this column and that is because they are one my favourite pastimes.  I spend all day reading stuff for my work so to sit back and be entertained when I’m relaxing is a joy.

But not only do our creative industries offer great entertainment and light relief for millions like me, they also make a fantastic contribution to our economy. They provide for over 2 million jobs and contribute an estimated £92 billion to our nation’s coffers.

In addition, they are crucial to Britain’s unique global soft power; influencing and shaping conversations and cultures the world over. They will be a vital component of a post Brexit Global Britain and I am therefore delighted that the Government is foursquare behind our arts sector; providing £850 million in tax relief to help them compete on the global stage.

Furthermore, I am very proud to support our creative industries in Parliament as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Channel 4.  In that role I was fortunate enough to attend the recent BAFTAs, where I had the absolute pleasure of meeting the best leading actress winner Olivia Coleman – now of course with and Oscar to her name.  She is everything I had hoped she would be; fun, humble, real and, of course, supremely talented - a magnificent female role model and a perfect ambassador for modern Britain.

In my Parliamentary activities, however, I have found there is something of a gender imbalance in the film industry.  For example, only 4% of the biggest films of the last decade have had a female director.  It is an imbalance we must address and I will be working with the industry to help achieve that goal.