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Live Webchat with Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries (Monday 31 January, 1.15-2.15pm)(235 Posts)
We're delighted to announce that Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, will be joining us for a webchat this Monday lunchtime.
Ed's responsibilities range from libraries and art galleries to broadband access, internet and film.
Ed says said that, ever since he was appointed last May, it has been a priority for him to keep in direct contact with people who want to ask questions, raise issues or make comments and suggestions.
So, do feel free to ask away - either on the day or, if you can't join us then, by posting your question in advance here.
You are abolishing the Film Council. The Oscar nominated film 'The King's Speech' was backed by the Film Council. The success of this film and others like it adds to the fiscal and cultural well-being of our nation.
Where precisely are film makers going to get their funding from in future Ed? I'd like specific answers please
Do you have any comment to make about the library closures, Mr Vaizey?
I believe half of all the libraries in Oxfordshire, your own constituency, are due to close?
Wnat your thoughts on library closures, Dorset is proposing to close 20 out of it's 34 libraries, but about to sepnd a few million on a new flagship one.
Thank you for coming Ed. I would like to ask you whether you've given up smoking yet (am occasional Wright Stuff viewer....) but more importantly:
Don't you realise that allowing all these libraries to be closed is going to lose a hell of a lot of Conservative votes? There are a lot of people - including older people like my parents, and many young families who use libraries, who will never forgive your party for allowing this to happen.
I'd like to echo the previous posters' views about library closures. These aren't just merely buildings they're hubs of the community and provide a centre of learning for all, not to mention internet access for people who don't have it at home. Also, I'm interested how this will affect the nation's literacy levels.
Good work on bringing broadband to all though, the Government has some very robust policies in place.
I definitely want to know about the libraries. It's an absolute disgrace that they are being considered for closure. They are such important hubs of the local community. Even for people who can afford books like you Mr Vaizey...
Ed I use the library chiefly to keep my 6 year old in books the kind that you read once whilst learning to read.
I would not buy these kinds of books as the cost would be extortionate so thank goodness for the library. As a child I read constantly and it was something my working class parents could indulge as a trip to the library is free.
I guarantee I am not alone in this.
Absolutely taczilla - I spent every Saturday morning in the library as a child and my love of reading comes in great part from that. It would be a dreadful loss to see that opportunity lost for our children.
I work in the main library in our county, upstairs inputting books, it is always busy as is our very little one which is open 7 hours a week. My bedside table has a huge pile of books as does the DC's, I can't afford to buy them new books and they like to change them a lot. I also agree with the poster who says that voters will not stand for this.
Mr Vaizey, I remember the biographer Michael Holroyd always wrote Education: Maidenhead Public Library'. Won't library closures kneecap our culture industry?
David Cameron said he wanted Britain to make more films like Harry Potter.
JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter 1 on benefits and Harry Potter 2 on a £8k grant from the Scottish Arts Council. I don't know off the top of my head how much the Harry Potter franchise has brought in investment to the UK - but it is measured in billions, I imagine, rather than millions. And it continues to build - with a Harry Potter theme park soon being built in Leavesden.
Would you agree that investment in arts and creative industries is not something worthy and nice-to-do but integral to our economy and necessary for growth. We are never going to compete on manufacturing with emerging economies but maintaining a vibrant creative sector and media is essential? What is the coalition going to do to safeguard investment?
The performing arts contribute immeasurably to revenue brought in by tourists. It is estimated at something like 3.7% of GDP. We have the largest performing arts economy as a proportion of GDP in the WORLD. It is not a big outgoing budget, but essential for both institutions and events. And yet funding to world class institutions like the Royal College of Music is being slashed by 100%. Added to this, visa entry requirements are preventing world class musicians from travelling to this country to engage in masterclasses/recitals etc Example here
How is this a good idea? To cut funding from a sector that we are world leaders in, resulting in a much greater loss of revenue, and a further drop in GDP?
More about the libraries from me too! You must stop local councils from closing them down. There are many other ways to save money rather than removing this valuable resource from the heart of or communities. I grew up in Brent and was heartbroken to hear that Kensal Rise library is being earmarked for closure but BC are opening a new £100 million pound library in Wembley - surely at a time like this a new library is excessive when we have such beautiful and well used libraries already? Mark Twain opened KR library. Andrew Carnigie gave the library £3000 to expand. Surely a library with such an illustrious history deserves some respect? For pity's sake leave us something with Uni fees rising EMA scrapped - our libraries are more important then ever now?
York Gardens Library in Wandsworth is in the most deprived ward in that borough. 59% of children who use it say that using the library helps them do better at school. These are children who live in high rises, often have few books at home and do not have computers at home. The library is a safe haven for kids and adults alike.
How does your department feel about the fact that many councils are choosing to make cuts to the library services?
How do you feel about the impact on communities and culture that the closure of libraries is going to have?
What measurement will your department be doing to understand the impact?
And what will you be doing to mitigate against the impact of these closures?
I would like to ask you if you have any personal, extended experience of coordinating volunteer workers, as this is what your Government is advocating as a viable alternative to paying professional and paraprofessional library staff to provide a service.
What are your views on Philip Pullman's brilliant summary of this unworkable suggestion?
And I would also like to ask you whether you really feel that cutting the entire HEFCE teaching grant to the conservatoires in the UK, thereby almost certainly forcing them to raise annual fees to 9k, is competitive in a European marketplace where many other outstanding institutions in e.g. Salzburg, Helsinki, Paris and Amsterdam, will be charging a fraction of those fees. Do you want to drive young musicians out of the UK altogether?
I live in what I believe is the biggest village in England. Our library serves an area of over 10,000 people. When it closes this year getting to the main library will cost me £3 in either parking or bus fare. Please tell me Mr Vaizey how am I supposed to afford for my children to read. Also where else will I be able to walk to with my young children except the co-op? Can't sit down and read a book there.
My husband who works for the library will also be out of a job so I will have to return from maternity leave full time & barely see my children. Just telling you like it is for the people you are so keen to keep in contact with. Devasting really, for me, for my Dh, for my children & for my community.
Public libraries have been providing free access to knowledge and books for almost 300 years. They've changed and adapted to the times, and recently they have made a massive contribution to bridging the digital divide, through projects like the People's Network.
My twins are 18 months old and already have a real passion for books thanks to our local library, which is under threat of closure.
So I would like to ask Ed: once the library closes, where else can I take my children to use free books, with trained staff on hand to help them on the start of their 'reading journey'?
i have used public libraries all of my life it seems, and both of my children had their own tickets at 6 weeks old, i and many other people like me are trying our very best to raise well educated children, and i firmly believe that without access to books that would never happen, we can't all afford private education like you probably had, and we can't all afford to buy the sort of books you can borrow from the library, so why are you closing them, stop wasting money on stupid stuff and spend it where it will do the most good!
I was going to post the same as BookwormSW11 - see post of Thu 27-Jan-11 22:48:17 .
Just to add, telling children from a deprived and often dangerous-after-dark estate that they can visit another library, over 1/2 a mile away, which would entail them walking under railway bridges and across busy roads, to do their homework, access books, librarian resources and the internet is not a solution.
Nor is providing "children's outreach services," whatever they may be, in lieu.
I am pleased to see my question about cutting funding to specialist music colleges has already been asked.
Instead therefore I'm going to ask a question about broadband access. How does the Government plan to help people get access not just to broadband but affordable broadband? We have satellite broadband through the Scottish Broadband Reach project and we pay £35 a month for a distinctly flaky connection that cannot deliver streamed video at all. 2MB would cost well over £40 a month. <Hold on Mr Vazey, don't bat it back saying that's a Scottish problem - there will be rural communities in England with the same issue.> It's all very well getting everyone access to broadband - how are you going to make it affordable for all and address the huge divide between cheap superfast in the towns and expensive barely a crawl in areas like mine? The market is not going to deliver improved landline broadband, certainly not for small and ancient rural exchanges like mine.
I have read that you plan to scrap the idea of net neutrality (for those that do not know, this means that websites will have to pay Internet Service Providers for delivering their content. A big business with lots of cash will be able to afford to pay top whack and will therefore have its pages loaded faster onto your screen than a smaller, poorer rival).
Potentially this means that there will be a two tier internet. With big business being able to provide easy access to its content and small business/charities/individuals only being able to offer slow loading pages. The consumer will soon get irritated by the slow access to some information so will start avoiding the pages of smaller companies thus disadvantaging them ever more.
Even the US Government thinks net neutrality is of supreme importance so that all information is equal. That is the magic of the internet. Can you please explain why you are willing to undermine equality on the internet in favor of big business? Please don't use technical gooblidook in your answer in the hope of boring people to death so they continue to ignore this really important issue.
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