Magazine article Screen International

UK's DCMS Receives 'Half a Dozen' Responses to Creative Europe Public Consultation

Magazine article Screen International

UK's DCMS Receives 'Half a Dozen' Responses to Creative Europe Public Consultation

Article excerpt

Culture minister Ed Vaizey reiterates government's opposition to Creative Europe budget increase during House of Lords EU sub-committee.

Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) today reiterated the UK government's opposition to the proposed budget increase within Creative Europe, the European Commission's successor programme to the existing Culture, MEDIA and MEDIA Mundus programmes that are set to end in December 2013.

Vaizey said: "The government opposes this budget increase because in times of great economic austerity, when the EU should be focused on growth and looking hard at the money it spends and reducing its budget, it would be wrong for there to be an increase in the budget of the culture programme. The government's position is that the EU should be freezing its budget for the next six financial years."

Vaizey was speaking during a House of Lords EU sub-committee, which will next week hear from UK MEDIA Desk head Agnieszka Moody and other industry experts on the topic.

Creative Europe proposes a 37% budget increase to that of its three predecessor programmes with a total budget of [euro]1.8 billion for the period 2014 to 2020.

Following a public consultation seeking views on the Creative Europe programme Vaizey said his department had to date only received "half a dozen" responses, but that he would be "concerned" if that number remained at six. He described them as "generally supportive of the proposal."

Regarding Creative Europe's proposed financial facility in the form of a debt instrument operating alongside European financial institutions to provide loans for SMEs, Vaizey said: "We oppose the facility in principle because we are not sure it will be effective."

Vaizey expressed concern that other sectors would demand a similar facility and that "banks and businesses that are already lending in this sector will simply see this is a new opportunity to get guaranteed finance and fill the space," to the detriment of new businesses.

In response to a question from Lord Skidelsky about whether the proposed budget increase and financial facility could be a means of generating growth in the creative sectors, Vaizey highlighted the success of initiatives such as the EIS and SEIS schemes as examples of currently successful initiatives for generating investment in the creative sectors.

In response to a committee question about how the government intends to implement the Film Policy Review's recommendations "for the UK to engage the European dimension", Vaizey said: "We want to continue to engage our European colleagues through the MEDIA programme, whose objectives we support. …

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