Heritage department is consigned to history

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Indy Politics
Chris Smith yesterday ceased to be the Heritage Secretary and became the first Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

The Government decided to re-name the Department of National Heritage, Mr Smith said, as "the old name was backward-looking and did not do justice to the range of work we cover".

The new name does not do full justice either, as tourism also falls within Mr Smith's portfolio. But a spokesman at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said yesterday that culture brings in tourists, so tourism came under culture.

It was also decided to transfer responsibility for the music industries from the Department for Trade and Industry to the DCMS.

Mr Smith said the department would be forward-looking and "promote everything from Beefeaters to Britpop".

He also announced an inter-departmental Creative Industries Taskforce, which will aim to improve economic performance in this area.

Its membership will include Virgin chief Richard Branson; film producer Sir David Puttnam; the founder of Oasis's record label Creation Records, Alan McGee; designer Paul Smith; chief executive and UK chairman of publishers Random House, Gail Rebuck; Eric Salama, director of media advisers WPP; and Janice Hughes of Spectrum Strategy Consultants.

Mr Smith said the taskforce would co-ordinate the activities of various Whitehall departments, boost wealth generation and employment in the industries concerned and increase "creative activity and excellence".

He added: "The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is a department for the future. It is about creativity, innovation and excitement. It is a department concerned with many of the things that affect people's day-to-day lives - like sport, television, films and the lottery- the things we talk about at work or at leisure.

"It is all about the widest possible access - for the many not the few."