Branson made style supremo

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Richard Branson and Sir David Puttnam will this week be named as the Government's new style supremos during a big shake-up of the Department of National Heritage.

The move marks the first formal involvement of Mr Branson in government, after an election campaign in which he cautiously avoided endorsing Labour but was photographed with Tony Blair. Sir David, a leading film producer and chairman of Enigma Productions, is already a prominent Labour supporter who has backed government initiatives for the arts.

Tomorrow the two men will be named as part of a creative industries task- force to be established by Chris Smith, Secretary of State for National Heritage.

Mr Smith, who is expected to re-name the ministry the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, will stress the crucial economic role played by the industries, worth an estimated pounds 50bn to the country.

The minister will announce that the task-force will cover some of the biggest financial earners including design, the music industry, software, multi-media and advertising.

It will be given a broad brief to encourage the growth of these industries and, in particular, to advise on training, skills development and export promotion.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "We are delighted that Richard Branson has decided to come on board with some of Britain's leading business and creative talents who will be helping us to nurture more."