The thriving creative industries are essential to driving growth and success in the UK and should be at the heart of government strategy, the Creative Industries Federation (CIF) has said.
In a new ‘blueprint’ for economic growth it calls for the Government’s enterprise zone programme to be extended to the creative industries. It also suggests launching a national business advice network for start-ups and small enterprises, and a campaign to diversify recruitment in the sector.
The 74-page document is a response to the Government’s green paper consultation on its new industrial strategy. It warns that the strategy must deliver a “far more joined-up and strategic approach than has been achieved to date”.
It follows assurances from government ministers that the creative industries have a “big part to play” in the forthcoming industrial strategy, and a commitment in the green paper to an ‘early sector deal’ with the creative industries.
Chief Executive of CIF John Kampfner said: “There has been a tendency to dismiss the creative industries as something lightweight while claiming the glory of billions of pounds in trade that comes from hits such as War Horse, Sherlock and Slumdog Millionaire.
“Our blueprint presents an ambitious vision combined with practical ideas, not just for increasing growth in the creative industries, but also for delivering growth and success for the wider economy and country.”
A growing industry
The document highlights the role of the creative industries in driving innovation and growth, and the importance of arts education and cultural organisations as “anchors for business expansion”.
It points out that the creative industries have become the fastest growing part of the UK economy, and that creative employment continues to grow faster than the workforce as a whole.
“There are jobs – and ones at low risk of automation – to be created and money to be made, with huge potential for more exports,” it says.
As the UK enters Brexit negotiations, it highlights the need for a new immigration system “fit for the 21st century”. It points out that ready access to highly-skilled Europeans has “long masked skills shortages in the sector”, and repeats CIF’s call for Government to drop its controversial English Baccalaureate schools performance measure, which is leading to a drop in take up of arts subjects by young people at GCSE.
It also argues that putting the arts and creative industries at the heart of government thinking could “kickstart new approaches” to policy, in areas such as healthcare and the environment, and help the UK “re-define” itself on the world stage.
The blueprint is based on a consultation with CIF’s 300 members, which took place at ten meetings across England, Scotland and Wales. The Federation also held discussions with city leaders, local authorities, local enterprise partnerships and incoming metro mayors.
It hopes to influence the Government’s new industrial strategy, which was announced by the Prime Minister in January. Theresa May said the strategy would aim to encourage growth evenly across the country by creating “a new approach to government”.
CIF makes three specific recommendations:
Extending the Government’s enterprise zones to offer the creative industries tailored tax breaks and government support. “Cities and regions would be eligible to bid for bespoke culture and creative industry deals including policy proposals that respond to local needs,” it says.
Forming a new centre outside of London to lead a national ‘business booster’ network. This would provide advice on the main issues restricting growth in small and medium-sized enterprises – a category many organisations in the creative industries fall into – including financial support, intellectual property and export support.
Launching a creative careers campaign, modelled on Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ campaign, to increase the diversity of those working in the sector. It would advise on the right mix of skills needed and “correct inadequate and misleading information” about careers in the creative industries.
CIF plans to develop these ideas through further consultation with members and key stakeholders. These will feed into the early sector deal for the creative industries, which is being led by the former Chair of Arts Council England, Sir Peter Bazalgette.
Article Source: Arts Professional