Letter: The need to invest in entertainment

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Sir: Hamish McRae ('There's no business like show business', 2 December) refers to the vast wealth of our leading creative people (Cameron Mackintosh, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Paul McCartney, Elton John and Richard Branson) and the enormous income earnt by the United Kingdom in exporting their work. Altogether our arts and entertainment earnings are far in excess of most of our manufacturing industries, such as cars, iron and steel, shipbuilding - and even banking and insurance, which used to lead our export figures.

However, any approach to the City or banks for investment and support of businesses based on talent is largely rejected ('Where is your security?' - like Canary Wharf?) or brushed aside ('Your debtors are foreign and difficult to collect' - like a Canadian province, a US state or the government of New South Wales?).

This country needs a massive change of attitude and a new lead from the Government if we are not to lose out to foreign investment in our greatest national asset: show business. Further, our present international lead was achieved by our investment in the Arts Council, which is now being reduced.

When will we learn how best to exploit our assets?

Yours faithfully,


London, EC2

3 December