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Edinburgh International Culture Summit: Minister of State for Digital and Culture opening ceremony speech

Matt Hancock welcomed over 40 ministerial and cultural policy delegations to the third Edinburgh International Culture Summit.

The Summit is a collaboration between the UK Government, Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament, British Council and Edinburgh International Festival.

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, said:

“On behalf of the UK Government, I am delighted to welcome you all to Edinburgh. Edinburgh is an exciting city, a proudly Scottish city, a British city and, perhaps most of all, a global city, with the 12 festivals demonstrating to the world the creative impetus that we have here in this city and in this country. For centuries Edinburgh has sent out around the world those at the cutting edge of culture, innovation and exploration, from Thomas Carlyle to Alexander Graham Bell, and a multitude of others.

“And this is important for two reasons. The first is economic. DCMS sectors, including the creative industries, here in the UK are responsible for over four million jobs, over £200 billion of value added and one of the most rapidly growing parts of our economy. They employ people of all ages and I think that at this point it is relevant to welcome the younger participants who are playing such a central role.

“This economic value is not all and perhaps it is not as important as the social and the human [values]. Britain is an outward, optimistic country, engaged and open to the world and it is within that spirit that we welcome you all here.

“And the task now is to make sure we use arts and culture to demonstrate the social glue which binds us together. Domestically to spread culture and access to culture to all parts, not just the heights of London and Edinburgh, not just for the affluent, but to all - building the strength of communities and building that social glue.

“And it is not just about culture within one country, because culture transcends borders. Globally to shape, as it has done in the past, Britain’s role in the world and identity. To bind humanity in mutual understanding and appreciation. And we celebrate that which brings us together and not concentrate on that which divides us. Let that be the spirit of this summit. Let us work to promote that spirit here in Edinburgh and the world over.”