As we approach the Jubilee weekend there will no doubt be lots of debate about the role of monarchy, indeed Britain's role in the 21st century world. Anyone who has spent anytime overseas knows that Britain's image in the world is largely based on the Queen and the Royal family. Other key global icons of Britain and Britishness include our armed forces, our football teams, our music, art and creativity, and to a lesser extent our parliamentary democracy and the image of 'Big Ben'.
The BBC is another British export cherished around the world, last week the BBC World Service won another global award for outstanding, impartial news. Despite spending considerably more, no other state sponsored news organisation has the global reputation of the BBC for independent, high quality news and analysis. Good quality news gathering and reporting is important and the BBC World Service is a beacon promoting our national reputation for freedom.
Journalism is just one of a range of creative industries including music, film, dance, theatre, design, computer games and digital communications. These all contribute to our global reputation for creativity. No doubt the jaw dropping Jubilee and later this summer Olympic ceremonies will affirm this to a massive global audience.
Creative industries are important to the British economy with latest data showing 1.5 million people employed in nearly 110,000 companies contributing 11% to UK exports. There is much more potential for these industries to grow - particularly in Cornwall where we have centres of excellence and access to Superfast Broadband.
Last week I was delighted that University College Falmouth (UCF) opened the doors of the Academy for Innovation and Research (AIR) at the Tremough campus. Funded by both the EU and the Government it is a £9 million investment in future jobs in this growing part of the UK economy. Congratulations to all those involved in the construction of this building to very tight deadlines and budgets.
UCF has a first class reputation in fine and performing arts as well as fashion design, the digital economy and broadcast journalism. AIR will enable local businesses to benefit from the creativity and problem solving skills of the talent at UCF to improve their performance. Between now and 2015 UCF has the goal of supporting 185 companies to grow, creating 122 new jobs and setting up 27 new companies. Together they aim to add nearly £18 million to the local economy.
Cornwall is arguably the second largest creative hub outside London and this investment will enable new and existing businesses to grow and offer people of all ages new and interesting learning and employment opportunities.
Creative industries will continue to play an important role in rebalancing our local and national economy away from over dependence on financial services in London and the South E and towards designing and making more goods and services here and exporting them around the world. I will continue to do everything I can to support sustainable employment opportunities in these industries.