McKevitt calls on Minister to ringfence creative industries
Ms McKevitt was speaking at the SDLP Conference 2014, where party delegates debated the economic contribution of creative industries here.
Ms McKevitt said: “Creative industries represent around 4.6 per cent of the workforce IN Northern Ireland. We have over 200 active businesses in the area of films, television and digital media, with external sales in excess of £156 million.
“Not only do the creative industries contribute to the job creation, employing around 36,000 people, they also make a huge contribution to tourism in Northern Ireland. Countless people visit Northern Ireland to view areas where filming takes place, for example Game of Thrones and The Fall, and we are becoming known for our world-class facilities and talent.
“The Programme for Government recognised the importance of the creative industries to the development of our economy. However, the 2015-16 draft budget has set out a 10 per cent cut for Culture, Arts and Leisure, equating to around £10m.
“The creative industries make a huge contribution to the Northern Ireland Economy and are important drivers of economic and social innovation. Promoting innovation, research and development, and creativity has been recognised as a key priority in rebuilding and rebalancing our economy.
“Invest NI has set out a long-term vision for creative industries in Northern Ireland, that by 2020, Northern Ireland will be an internationally acclaimed hub of technological and creative excellence in digital media - developing and distributing innovative digital media and technologies to global markets.
“For this vision to be achieved and for creative industries in Northern Ireland to continue to be successful, sufficient funds need to be set aside by the Minister.”