WHITTINGDALE, DAVIES & COWAN: Time to secure real change for creative industries

Welsh Conservatives will discuss plans to reinvigorate the creative industries in Wales, and promote job opportunities in the sector, as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport John Whittingdale visits South Wales. A roundtable discussion with representatives from the creative industries sector takes place on Wednesday afternoon in Cardiff. This comes in the wake of comments made last week by the outgoing Arts Council of Wales (ACW) chairman, who said that the Welsh Labour Government operated in a “knuckle-headed, philistine fashion” towards the creative industries. Suzy Davies, who has served as Shadow Culture Minister, has outlined how the growth of the industry should be integral to Wales' economic policy. The Party's proposal to implement employee incentive grants in Wales would play a key role in allowing organisations within the creative sector to recruit new staff, expand their skill base and grow. The Welsh Conservatives' manifesto will also contain a clear commitment to promote Wales' film and TV locations to international markets, increasing the global reputation of Wales' creative industries. Welsh Conservatives will also pledge to campaign to protect the funding, operational and editorial independence of S4C; and work with the announced review of its functions to modernise its remit. This follows the announcement of an additional £400,000 of funding for S4C from the UK Government.  Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, John Whittingdale MP, said: "After 17 years in power, Labour Ministers in Cardiff Bay have failed to unleash the full potential of Wales' creative industries, and the assessment of the outgoing Arts Council of Wales Chairman is damning of their record. "The health of a nation can so often be defined by the strength of its creative industries. The next Welsh Government must ensure this is a priority – and Welsh Conservative plans to create more jobs in the sector, and promote Wales' offering to the international stage, can secure real change." Suzy Davies, candidate for South Wales West, said: "Creative industries play a pivotal role in attracting investment, driving employment and promoting Wales to the world. "As part of this, introducing employee incentive grants will allow firms working in the creative industry to take on new staff, up-skill and expand. "By removing Labour's age-cap on employment support, and implementing greater apprenticeship flexibility, real change can be secured for the industry and new career paths developed.  "A booming creative economy can do so much for Wales – and Welsh Conservatives have set out a clear path towards securing this.” Cardiff North candidate, Jayne Cowan, added: "The UK Government's recent announcement to provide an additional £400,000 for S4C proves how Welsh Conservatives, working constructively with UK Government colleagues, can achieve the best outcomes for Wales. "Conservatives are committed to Welsh language broadcasting, and the operational and editorial independence of S4C; and a review of the channel offers an ideal opportunity to explore its wider remit.”

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