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UK creative industries key to sustaining economic growth

July 3, 2014

By Colin Mann

Industry members of the Creative Industries Council (CIC) have revealed their vision and strategy for the UK creative industries for 2020. The Strategy outlines a plan that will see businesses and Government work together to maintain the UK’s position as a world leader for the creative industries. The sector is recognised as playing a key role in a thriving UK economy.

Launched to industry and Government at an event attended by Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Minister for Equalities, hosted by Facebook, the Strategy – for the first time – unites the creative industries and lays bare the significant role the sector will continue to play in the UK’s sustained economic recovery.

  • The creative industries generated more than £71 billion gross value added in 2012 – a 9.4 per cent increase between 2011 and 2012 that surpasses the growth of any other UK industry sector

  • Supported 1.71million jobs in the creative industries

  • And created jobs for 890,000 people in other sectors as a key part of wider supply chain and as a driver of business in other sectors

However, as the market becomes increasingly competitive and internationalised, the Strategy warns that the industry and Government cannot rest on their laurels. The Strategy developed for, and by, industry identifies five priority areas fundamental to the future success of the sector:

  • Education and skills: Building on the industries’ long history of excellence, having an education and careers system that inspires and supports the next generation; increased employer engagement with schools and investment in skills; and better opportunities for people from all backgrounds.

  • Access to finance: Creative businesses having knowledge of how to access and secure finance to grow, with a wide range of financing options and incentives available with an increased number of creative industries companies receiving investment.

  • Infrastructure: Creating one of the most advanced communications infrastructures and regulatory environments in the world to ensure the UK is a competitive place to do business with the aim of being in the top five countries in the world for digital infrastructure.

  • Intellectual property: Ensuring the intellectual property framework continues to promote a strong and balanced copyright regime at home and abroad.

  • International (exports and inward investment): Doubling the value of creative industries service exports from 15.5 billion in 2011 to £31 billion in 2020 and getting more UK creative businesses exporting by helping 15,000 companies [compared to 7,500 in 2013/14].

“British designers, musicians and filmmakers have put the UK on the world map with their creative talent,” declared Cable. “They have also played a big part in driving our economic recovery. UK creative industries generate £71 billion in revenue each year and support 1.71 million jobs – that’s equivalent to four times a city the size of Manchester. We want this sector to continue to thrive so it’s important that government and industry keep working together to foster the right environment for creative industries to succeed and inspire young people to follow in the footsteps of the many creative heavyweights that Britain has produced. Create UK embodies this partnership and builds on UKTI’s international creative industry strategy to ensure that British businesses can stay ahead of their rivals around the world and keep supporting growth in our economy.”

“From film to video games, fashion to architecture, our world leading creative industries are a veritable powerhouse,” noted Javid. “They drive growth and outperform other industries, with employment increasing at around five times the rate of the national average. I have been continually impressed by the energy, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit in the sector – they are an integral part of what makes Britain great and the Create UK campaign will be instrumental in promoting the sector both here and abroad. ”

Cable stressed the importance of intellectual property and acknowledged the debate surrounding boundaries of IP protection. “The key is enforcement,” said, noting a recent London Summit discussing how “the villains” could be put behind bars and that young people were educated as to the importance of IP and respect it. Cable confirmed that that he and Javid would be rolling out a new initiative shortly that would strengthen IP protection in the industry.

Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s Vice President of EMEA and Co-Chair of the Creative Industries Council, described the UK as “a world leader” when it comes to the creative industries. “This week, the #CreateUK campaign sees the industry and government come together to celebrate the best of the UK Creative Industries. The sector plays a significant role in the economy and how the UK is viewed on the global stage but we are trading in an increasingly competitive marketplace and cannot take our position for granted. Together we need to continue this momentum to ensure we are inspiring and equipping the next generation of talent; helping creative businesses to start-up and grow; and maintaining the UK’s international competitiveness. Government should now make the creative industries one of its official industrial strategy sectors to build on this UK success story,” she concluded.

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