Conservatives and culture

Vaizey 650

I receive Ed Vaizey‘s regular newsletters and is astonishing how much good work he does. So I thought that I would bring the latest one to a larger audience:

Budget 2015

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has delivered his final budget of this parliament. You can read his full speech to the House of Commons HERE For the Budget 2015 in full, see HERE The red book contains a raft of measures aimed at boosting the UK’s creative industries, culture and digital economy, including:

Publication of the Digital Communications Infrastructure Strategy (HERE, which includes a new ambition that ultrafast broadband of at least 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) should be available to nearly all UK premises; further measures to support the delivery of broadband in rural areas, including looking to raise the Universal Service Obligation – the legal entitlement to a basic service – from dial-up speeds to 5 Mbps broadband, and subsidising the costs of installing superfast-capable satellite services. In addition, up to £600m to support the delivery of the change of use of 700 MHz spectrum, which will further enhance the UK’s mobile broadband connectivity Ed tweeted HERE@Twitter.

The broadband connection voucher scheme for small firms in cities will be open in a total of 50 cities by April 2015.

A £3.5m package to explore ways of protecting vulnerable people from nuisance calls. This will include trialling the development and provision of innovative call blocking technology, research and a campaign to raise awareness of how to reduce and report nuisance calls. Ed tweeted HERE @Twitter.

A consultation on how to provide local newspapers with tax support.

Tech and Creative Industries

Investment of £140m in world class research on the infrastructure and cities of the future, and £40m in research into the Internet of Things.

A new UK research initiative into the future potential of digital currency technology, supported by a £10m increase in funding in this area.

Additional funding of £1.1m to support women to take their business online and take advantage of superfast broadband.

An £11m investment in tech incubators in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield. These tech incubators will create thriving local ecosystems by nurturing start-ups, fostering collaboration, and providing mentoring, learning and business support. Ed tweeted HERE @Twitter.

An increase in the rate of film tax relief to 25% for all qualifying expenditure, subject to state aid clearance, from 1 April 2015. The BFI have welcomed the announcement HERE @ScreenDaily.

Modernisation of the cultural test for high-end television tax relief and reduction in the minimum UK expenditure requirement for all television tax reliefs from 25% to 10% from April 2015.

A new tax relief for the production of children’s television programmes from 1 April. This has been welcomed by the Commercial Broadcasters Association HERE @COBA.

£4m to extend the Skills Investment Fund to match fund support for training and development in film, television, visual effects and video. Ed tweeted HERE @Twitter.

A new £4m Video Games Prototype Fund over the next 4 years, which is designed to aid access to finance and business support, and to target games development talent. TIGA, the network for games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the UK videogames industry has strongly applauded this announcement. More HERE @TIGA. Ed tweeted HERE @Twitter.

Support for the sharing economy – a comprehensive package of measures that will break down barriers, create opportunities for sharing. Examples includes digitalising criminal record checks & encouraging the use of apps to share transport and accommodation.

Culture & Heritage:

Tax relief to orchestras at a rate of 25% on qualifying expenditure from 1 April 2016. The government has consulted on the design of the relief and a summary of responses will be published shortly.

£7.4m funding to support libraries in England to provide internet access and WiFi. Ed tweeted HERE @Twitter.

Building on the £15 million fund announced at Autumn Statement 2014, the government will provide a further £40 million funding to the Listed Places of Worship – Roof Repair Fund to support vital roof repairs in 2015 to 2017. Ed tweetedHERE @Twitter.

£1m funding to support the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.


Culture announcements in regional long-term economic plans – The government confirmed £8.98m in funding for culture, tourism and spending, investments as part of the government’s regional long-term economic plans. Arts Council England have welcomed the announcement HERE @ACE.

Further action announced to build a Northern Powerhouse, included £300,000 funding for a new marketing campaign to promote the tourism links between Newcastle and Scandinavia in 2015, and £56,000 to support the refurbishment of the Muni theatre in Pendle in 2015.


Ofcom has confirmed a new measure to promote competition and investment in the growing market for superfast broadband. More HERE @Ofcom.

Ofcom has published a statement on broadcasting rules ahead of the General Election, English local and mayoral elections on 7 May 2015, which you can read HERE @Ofcom.

Ofcom has fined BT £800,000 for failing to provide an improved text-to-voice service for its customers with hearing or speech impairments between April and September last year. More HERE @Ofcom.

Ofcom has announced licences to run local TV services in Aberdeen, Ayr and Dundee on digital terrestrial TV. More HERE @Ofcom.


This week there is superfast broadband news in Surrey (HERE @Cable), Berkshire (HERE and Monmouthshire (HERE @ChepstowBeacon).


Over 100 public buildings and open spaces in Cambridge are being transformed into free wi-fi hotspots making it quicker and easier for people to get online. More HERE @CambridgeNews.

VE Day

General information and events taking place throughout the 3-day weekend marking the 70th anniversary of VE Day can be found HERE


This week DCMS and The Tourism Industry Council joined forces to mark English Tourism Week through a week long social media campaign. More HERE

At a meeting between Government and leading tourism employers, Helen and Skills Minister Nick Boles committed to helping the industry meet apprenticeship standards. More HERE

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions has announced that its members’ visitor figures for 2014 saw an average increase of 6.5% on 2013, with Scottish attractions having the greatest increase of almost 10%, followed by London with an increase of 7.11%. More HERE @ALVA. Museums and galleries throughout the UK saw a 6.09% increase in visits on 2013. The British Museum remained the most popular attraction, while the British Library saw visits to its public exhibitions and programme rise by 52%. Ed tweeted HERE, HERE & HERE @Twitter.


Sajid has awarded John Hoy a second term on the VisitEngland Board, for the 4 years to 29 May 2019. More HERE

Creative Industries and Media

Digital Radio

At the Radiodays Europe Conference in Milan this week, a group of major broadcasters from Germany, UK, Netherlands, Italy, Norway and Poland announced a common European specification for digital radio receivers, including FM, DAB, DAB+, and agreed levels of receiver sensitivity. More HERE @DigitalRadio.


Nominations are now open for the 14th Edinburgh TV Awards. More HERE @EdinburghTVAwards.

Pact and the Ragdoll Foundation have launched a campaign to “improve availability of good quality TV programmes for children”. More HERE @Pact.

The upcoming Sherlock special will be set in Victorian London, the show’s co-creator, Steven Moffat, has confirmed. More HERE @BBC.

You can see all the winners at this year’s Royal Television Society Programme Awards HERE @RTS. Ed tweeted HERE @Twitter.


Investors with a minimum of £1,000 to risk are, for the first time, being invited to directly back a Hollywood movie through crowdfunding website SyndicateRoom. More HERE @Telegraph.


It has been announced that Kanye West will headline the Saturday night of this year’s Glastonbury Festival, in his first appearance at the festival. More HERE @GlastonburyFestivals. Read HERE @Guardian a piece in defence of Kanye, which proclaims: “Kanye West isn’t just a pop star. He’s an event. Having him headline Glastonbury – in front of huge live crowd and a massive TV audience – makes Saturday night at Glastonbury the pop event of the year. This will be a spectacle. And who doesn’t want spectacle at a festival?”

Surprisingly, not everybody is happy. In true pre-Glastonbury style, almost 60,000 people have signed a petition to “cancel Kanye West’s headline slot and get a rock band”. More HERE @Indy. 975,000 have signed a petition to get Jeremy Clarkson reinstated as the presenter of Top Gear. We very much look forward to petitions calling for Kayne to present Top Gear and Clarkson to headline Glastonbury.

Jessie J and George Ezra are among the names confirmed to headline this year’s Summer Series at Somerset House. More HERE @SomersetHouse.


The British Fashion Council has confirmed Sunglass Hut as the Principal Sponsor of London Fashion Week as part of a three year partnership that starts in September 2015. More HERE @BFC. Commenting, Caroline Rush, BFC Chief Executive, said: “Sunglass Hut is a world leader in eyewear retailing and we look forward to building a long term partnership to further engage the global audience of London Fashion Week.”


Mario on your smartphone? Nintendo has announced that it is to collaborate with Japanese developer DeNA to create new games for smartphones. More HERE @BBC.

Images “focusing in on fully exposed buttocks” and of “female breasts if they include the nipple” are just two examples of items, which are now banned on Facebook as part of the company’s revamp of its community standards. MoreHERE @BBC.

Read HERE @Telegraph an interesting piece on the “Internet of Everything” (IoE), defined by Cisco as “the business of connecting people, processes, data and devices without the need for human interaction to create a more efficient digital world”.

As part of a six month trial, Google via its Digital Garage Project, is opening a pop-up workshop in Leeds in a bid to help local businesses improve their digital skills. More HERE @Wired.

Read HERE @Telegraph a thought provoking piece on how the iPad is changing the way we learn.

EE have set their sights on replicating the success of recently abolished ‘Orange Wednesday’ with the launch of ‘Film Club’, a scheme which will give customers the chance to rent a recently-released film for just £1 from MoreHERE @Telegraph.


According to a survey by Which?, customers of smaller broadband providers are much happier than those of the big three BT, Sky and TalkTalk. More HERE @BBC.


The Publishers Association has launched its new-look website providing up-to-date information on the range of campaigns and initiatives being undertaken by The PA and publishing generally. More HERE @PublishersAssociation.


Read HERE an interesting blog, which proposes that a BBC without BBC3, risks losing British television’s most diverse audience. More HERE @GEITF.

Access to Finance

The banking industry has pledged its support for the UK creative industry with the launch of a new toolkit to help small creative businesses access the right funding. More HERE @TheDrum.

Across the Channel

France, Germany, Italy and Poland have called on the European Commission on change tax rules for ebooks to reverse a court ruling that barred states giving sales tax discounts on electronic books in the way they do for paper publications. More HERE @Reuters.

The French authorities have used new powers to block five websites, which they claim condone terrorism, without a court order. More HERE @BBC.

Across the Pond

Golden Girls star Betty White is to be honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the 42nd Daytime Emmy awards next month. More HERE @Emmy.

Culture and the Arts


Coinciding with 20 years of investment into the UK’s heritage – amounting to over £6billion – the Heritage Lottery Fund commissioned BritainThinks to conduct research to better understand the public’s view of National Lottery investment and to see to what extent it had made places better to live and work in or visit. More HERE @HLF. A key finding of the report ‘20 years in 12 places’ shows 80% think local heritage makes their area a better place to live. Ed tweetedHERE @Twitter & HERE @Twitter.


Wandsworth Council has revealed the four design teams to be shortlisted for the Nine Elms Bridge Competition in London. More HERE @ALVA.

Read HERE @Indy how an international architecture firm has designed a pair of ‘no-shadow’ towers, which they claim will work together to redirect sunlight onto the streets.


The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals has announced that Nick Poole, current CEO of the Collections Trust, is to become its new Chief Executive from 22 June 2015. More HERE @CILIP.

BT and Barclays have joined forces to provide free wi-fi and hands on digital support at libraries and community centres in deprived areas across England. More HERE @BT. Ed tweeted HERE @Twitter.

Museums & Galleries

Dr Gabriele Finaldi has been appointed Director of the National Gallery. More HERE @NationalGallery. Dr Finaldi, who will take up the post in August, is currently Deputy Director for Collections and Research at the Museo Nacional del Prado.

London Motor Museum is offering a ride in the Batmobile from the 1989 Batman film by Turton Burton in an attempt to drum up business. More HERE @ALVA. The museum owns one of only four original Batmobiles built for the film, in addition to the original model from the 1966 TV series.

In Parliament

 Ed responded on behalf of the government to Westminster Hall debates on the Thames Valley technology centre HERE @Parl, and local newspapers HERE @Parl.

Ed answered for the Government during a debate on Shooters Hill Mobile Phone Mast (Stoke-on-Trent) HERE @Parl.

Parliamentary Feeds

Ed HERE @TheyWorkForYou.

Sajid Javid HERE @TheyWorkForYou.

Helen Grant HERE @TheyWorkForYou.

EDMs HERE @Parl.

Where Ed’s been and who he’s seen

Loyd Grossman; Madam Chen, Huawei; London Live; Spoke at LVMH Lunch; attended Deloitte Media and Telecoms 2015 and Beyond Conference dinner; spoke in Westminster Hall Debate, Thames Valley LEP; spoke at Panel Event, FT Sharing Economy; spoke at Farrell Review ‘One Year On’ event; attended Digital Disruption: Lessons from the Music Industry; visited Blythe House; spoke at Ericsson Global Media Hub Launch; attended lunch on Cathedral Cities; Lord Grade; visited Savoir Beds Limited; visited Watermans Art Centre; visited Orleans House Gallery; spoke in Wesminster Hall debate, Future of Local Newspapers; spoke in Adjournment Debate, mobile masts in Stoke-Newington; attended Waterloo 200 event.

…and finally

Apple chief executive Tim Cook offered a part of his liver to a dying Steve Jobs, according to new book ‘Becoming Steve Jobs, which is due to be released this month. More HERE @BBC.

Disney has announced that it is banning smoking in all of its PG 13-rated future productions. More HERE @Telegraph. Commenting, Disney CEO Bob Iger said: “we are extending our policy to prohibit smoking in movies across the board.” He did, however, clarify that the ban does not apply to instances in which smoking was part of the cultural or historical background of a real-life figure.

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Ed Vaizey Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy

Follow Ed on Twitter: @edvaizey

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  1. Where can you subscribe to his newsletter? Can’t seem to find a link online anywhere…


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