MP Matt Hancock has been appointed to the role of culture secretary, heading up the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
Hancock has been promoted from minister of state for digital, which is one of the remits of DCMS, to secretary of state for DCMS, putting him in charge of the whole department.
Replaces Karen Bradley
The role is informally known as culture secretary. He replaces Karen Bradley, who moves to the role of Northern Ireland secretary.
The appointment comes as Theresa May announces this year’s Cabinet Office reshuffle, which sees ministers change roles.
Hancock has been digital minister since July 2016, and has been responsible for areas including broadband, broadcasting, online safety, the tech industry and creative industries.
DCMS reshuffle in 2017 seen to “downgrade” creativity
Although he held the role for 18 months, the remit of his role changed in a department reshuffle last year.
He was originally appointed digital and culture minister in July 2016 but his title changed to digital minister in June 2017, which excluded art and culture from his remit.
This was part of a move for the DCMS to focus more heavily on digital and tech, and was seen as controversial and detrimental to the creative sector by some industry bodies. Creative Industries Federation said at the time that the reshuffle “appeared to downgrade the importance of the arts”.
Hancock also MP for West Suffolk
Hancock now takes back responsibility for arts and culture as DCMS secretary. In his new role, he will be responsible for strategy and policy across the department’s areas, including arts and culture, creative industries, broadcasting, digital, tourism, museums and galleries, the National Lottery and sport.
He is currently also MP for West Suffolk, a role he has held since 2010. Prior to being digital minister, he held roles in other departments including Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), and was also involved in the launch of the gov.uk central site by the Government Digital Service (GDS).
Before becoming a politician, he was an economist at the Bank of England and chief of staff to the shadow chancellor of the exchequer. He has a degree in philosophy, politics and economics from the University of Oxford, and a masters in economics from the University of Cambridge.
Industry welcomes Hancock to the role
Sarah Weir, CEO at Design Council, says: “We welcome Matt Hancock’s recent appointment as secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. His knowledge and experience of the creative industries will be vital in a year where we focus on promoting diversity, talent and skills across design and technology.”
John Kampfner, CEO at Creative Industries Federation, adds: “We welcome the appointment of Matt Hancock as the new culture secretary. In his role as digital minister he has always been a great supporter of the Federation and we look forward to him continuing the work of Karen Bradley in leading the charge for the fastest growing sector of the UK economy, and seizing the opportunities for the creative industries across the UK in the year ahead.”
New digital minister yet to be announced
The Cabinet Office has not yet announced who will replace Hancock as digital minister, and the DCMS did not wish to comment on Hancock’s appointment at the time of publishing.
Another Cabinet change likely to impact the design and creative industries is Damian Hinds’ appointment, who takes on the role of education secretary.