Now in its fourth year, Measuring Music provides a vital insight into the economic contribution of the UK industry. I am very grateful to UK Music and all those who worked on the report, not least the musicians who gave their time.
The headline figures are encouraging: £4.1 billion in GVA, exports up to 2.2 billion, and 119,020 jobs. Music is a major industry – and to say that the UK punches above its weight is a massive understatement. This country is extraordinarily talented.
Extraordinary talent is not enough, however. Magic may be a part of the creative process but careers in music don’t happen by magic. This Government will do all it can to help – through investment; ongoing consideration of tax laws; and working closely with UK Music, schools, orchestras, conservatoires, Lottery distribution bodies, and everyone else who wants to see British music flourish.
Above all, I am determined that every child should be exposed to music and invited to make it part of their life, no matter what their background. Young people from poorer backgrounds are less likely to play an instrument and are underrepresented at conservatoires. My colleague Justine Greening, the Education Secretary, and I are going to tackle this.
The Office for Civil Society, which now sits in my department, has a wide range of projects to increase opportunity, most of which can involve music.
Meanwhile, Arts Council England now monitors how well the organizations it funds reflect the communities they serve.
Music has a unique ability to touch people and do wonders for confidence, educational attainment, long-term health and happiness. No responsible Government would shirk the responsibility of being its champion.