UK’s new coalition government names Conservative MP has minister for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport.
Jeremy Hunt has taken the role of secretary of state for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport in the UK’s newly-formed coalition government.
Hunt, who is the Conservative MP for South West Surrey, has been the shadow culture minister for the past three years and replaces outgoing Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, who took over the role last June. He will also take responsibility for the London 2012 Olympics from Tessa Jowell.
Commenting on his appointment, Hunt said: “It is a wonderful moment for me personally, having followed this portfolio for the last two and a half years. Our sectors – particularly creative industries, culture and tourism – are vital elements in the UK’s economic recovery. “
Observers have suggested that the decision to merge the Olympics into the department suggest it will take precedence over the creative industries.
Hunt has previously pledged to crackdown in illegal piracy and, as yet, the new government has given no indication that it plans to repeal the new Digital Economy Bill. The bill, hastily passed in April, contains plans to disconnect illegal file-sharers from the Internet.
It is not clear which minister will be directly responsible for the film industry with further appointments due to be made today (May 13). Conservative MP Ed Vaizey, who has been shadow arts minister with responsibility for film since 2006, is tipped a post in the department.
Speaking at the Screen International Film Summit last October, Vaizey said the Tories were committed to keeping the UK tax credit but he was “completely open minded” to calls for it to be changed. At the time he also dismissed suggestions that a Tory government would further reduce public funds for film.
“The damage it could do to the British film industry which is still one of the largest in the world and incredibly culturally important, would be horrendous.
“What the government gives in terms of support to the film industry doesn’t register as so much as a blip on the Richter scale of government spending or debt. The idea that we can put the economy right by somehow cutting film is slightly bizarre.”
He also lent his support to both the regional screen agencies the UK Film Council despite Tory leader David Cameron, now Prime Minister, calling for the role of unelected Quangos to be reduced. Cameron singled out media regulator Ofcom but not the UKFC.
However, how much of this remains true now that an alliance with the Liberal Democrats has been struck - and in the face of cutting the deficit starting this year, remains to be seen.