Business secretary Vince Cable and shadow minister for the arts Chris Bryant have committed to keeping UK broadcaster Channel 4 under public ownership if Labour or the Liberal Democrats win the general election.
A cross-party gathering of British politicians and members of the Creative Industries Council (CIC), the joint forum for the creative industries (including film, TV, fashion and games) to lobby government on their behalf, gathered yesterday for a reception at the House of Commons to highlight the success of the UK’s creative industries and call on policy-makers to continue nurturing the sectors after the May general election.
In attendance were the current Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chris Bryant, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Culture. All three reiterated their support for the UK’s creative industries, while Liberal Democrat Cable and Smith also made a point of declaring their own party’s backing for Channel 4 to remain a public entity.
“What I’m committed to, and what my party is committed to, is making absolutely sure that Channel 4 is not floated to the private sector,” said Cable, hinting it might be “a slight point of acrimony” between the Lib-Dems and their coalition partners, the Conservatives.
Echoing Cable’s Channel 4 pledge, Smith also stressed Labour’s support for “embracing diversity” in the creative industries and “keeping the BBC strong”.
Javid did not address the Conservative Party’s stance on Channel 4 in his speech.
Other speakers included Nicola Mendelsohn, VP EMEA of Facebook and co-chair of the CIC, and Richard Zacconi, CEO of King Digital Entertainment, the games studio behind smartphone gaming sensation Candy Crush. Representatives from the film industry among the crowd included BFI CEO Amanda Nevill and Warner Bros. UK managing director Josh Berger.
Mendelsohn, who has been instrumental in driving CIC’s strategy, outlined areas of progress since the July 2014 launch of the Create UK strategy. They include the official launch of Hiive, a new professional network for creative people and businesses to connect and collaborate (www.hiive.co.uk).
Since its soft launch a few months ago, Hiive has attracted 7,000 users and 1,100 companies.