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UK Politics

Chancellor should invest in Britain’s thriving creative industries, says think tank


Chancellor George Osborne should prioritise investment in Britain’s thriving creative industries, such as the arts and advertising, according to a new report from think tank IPPR.

Although the UK economy has struggled for growth since financial crisis took hold in 2008, industries like design and entertainment have boomed. In 2012, the growth rate for the creative industries was 25 times greater than the UK economy as a whole, according to new Government figures,

But the sector is one of the worst affected by public sector spending cuts, among them the decision to abolish the UK Film Council in 2010.

“The Government is committed to a ‘march of the makers’ but is not taking seriously the impressive efforts of one of the fastest growing industries in the UK,” said Will Straw, associate director at IPPR.

“Given the rapid growth of this sector, which has been rapidly outstripping the rest of the economy since the financial crisis, there is a strong case for the creative industries to be prioritised by government. Eleven other sectors have been chosen but there seems to be little rationale for their inclusion while omitting one of Britain’s most thriving and exciting industries.”

In a report to be published next month, IPPR will recommend measures to spark growth outside of London, targeting Manchester for media and advertising, Teesside for gaming, Bristol for architecture and the West Midlands for design.

The booming creative industries sector accounts contributes £36 billion to the economy, according to the CBI. The sector accounts for more than 10 per cent of the country’s exports and 1.5 million jobs.

Last week the CBI published the ‘Creative Nation’ initiative, in which it outlined the importance of the creative industries sector.

“We must look to support our creative industries in fulfilling their potential as our economy evolves and adapts, making sure that the UK remains the key destination for creative firms to operate and do business,” the CBI said.

“Governments around the world are making overt plays to support their creative firms through targeted policy interventions. UK policymakers must build on existing progress by putting forward a coherent strategy to ensure that we stay ahead, particularly as the UK is in danger of slipping behind rivals like Germany on indicators such as new project start-ups.”

In support of the CBI’s new strategy, Jean-Benoit Berty, head of technology, media and telecommunications practice at accountant at EY, said: “The creative industries are all too often overlooked when discussing economic affairs. In reality they make a significant contribution to the UK’s economy and it would be good to see the Government shining a bigger spotlight on this sector.”

Instead George Osborne champions Britain’s manufacturing industry, which, despite growing 2 per cent in the last year, is down 10 per cent from its pre-recession output.