Creativity needs care
THE UK has the largest creative sector in Europe, one of the world’s largest music industries and one of its most advanced digital TV and radio markets.
Encompassing a wide range of industries from film, TV and video games to publishing, architecture and music, the creative industries are one of the UK’s world-class sectors.
Their economic importance is significant but often underestimated. The industry contributes around 6-8% of UK output and produce exports totalling over £16bn every year.
They produce not only well-known cultural and entertainment products, but employ nearly two million people, including 800,000 in related industries.
The economic impact is even wider. TV, film, art, fashion, media and design, to name just a few, significantly enhance the UK’S cultural reputation.
Our creative industries are critical for rebalancing the economy, reducing the deficit and delivering growth, but the sector is in the middle of structural change. The spread of digital technology and the growth of the online environment mean business models are shifting fast.
Making sure our creative industries remain world leaders will require action from the Government to deliver the right business environment for the sector to flourish. In a recently launched CBI blueprint for the creative industries, Creating Growth, the CBI says Government action should focus on the following areas:
On competition policy, we need a modern, forward-looking regime that reflects the new digital environment.
On skills, Government policy should reflect the needs of creative businesses and ensure these are being delivered by the education system.
On intellectual property, the Government must provide certainty about the IP regime so companies can derive value from their rights. It must also be active in international forums, since IP is a global issue.
On tax, we need a competitive framework that promotes start-ups, innovative and high-growth businesses. Given that many creative businesses are highly mobile, we need policies to ensure talent does not go elsewhere.
On the finance front, it can be difficult for creative firms to access the capital they need to get their products off the ground, especially when they can come with unproven revenue streams. The Government must work to ensure that access to finance does not become a barrier to growth for creative industries.
On infrastructure, there needs to be a policy framework that will encourage market-led investment in quality, high-speed internet.
This presents real opportunities for business, including the potential for new business models, bigger international markets for creative products and greater audience participation in the production and distribution of content. To ensure the UK is able to take advantage of this changing dynamic we need to get the business landscape right.
:: Sarah Green is regional director of CBI North East