Senior Government and industry figures have supported the potential to increase the economic growth and benefits of the UK creative industries through increased international trade and investment at a Parliamentary event.
The event, organised by the industry members of the Creative Industries Council (CIC), the joint forum of Government and industry, and sponsored by King, the games company, highlighted the expansionary prospects of the creative industries, which contributed £101.5bn of Gross Value Added to the UK economy in 2017.
Figures from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport show that the total value of UK exports in creative goods and services exceeded £40bn in 2016. Policy-makers and industry leaders believe there is room for even more growth, with increased demand for UK creative exports serving as a catalyst for expansion.
Since 2010, the value of UK creative services exports has risen by 83.9 per cent. As part of efforts to encourage more UK creative companies to increase their participation in international business, a brief guide to encouraging creative exports and inward investment has been published, funded by industry members of the CIC, with input from Department for International Trade and the GREAT campaign.
At the Parliamentary reception on Monday November 19th, speakers including Tim Davie, CEO of BBC Studios & the CIC Industry Co-Chair, Greg Clark, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary, and Baroness Fairhead, the Trade and Export Promotion Minister, outlined the factors which could maintain the upwards trajectory of the UK creative industries.
These factors included the work being done to implement the landmark Creative Industries Sector Deal agreed by the Government and the CIC in March, the UK's new export strategy, and the continuing ability of UK creative sectors to attract high quality talent and investment.
CIC Industry Co-Chair Tim Davie said the creative industries were leading the way in showing how private and public sectors could work productively together, and had demonstrated their intent by being one of the first parts of the UK economy to agree a sector deal with Ministers.
As part of the Deal's implementation, a network of creative clusters led by the Arts and Humanities Research Council has been announced and a centre specialising in policy and evidence in the creative industries has begun work.
Mr Davie also praised the recent appointment of Annette King, CEO of Publicis, the advertising group, as chair of the industry-led Creative Industries Trade & Investment Board - another measure in the agreement - which aims to grow the value of UK creative exports by 50 per cent by 2023.
The deal, which will lead to at least £150m of investment to support the future growth of the creative industries and includes pledges about skills, new technologies and other subjects, has triggered interest from regions across the UK seeking to increase the commercial and cultural benefits to local economies of developing strong creative sectors.
Mr Davie said:
“The breakthrough Creative Industries Sector Deal is testament to the relentless hard work of the CIC and its partners over the years.
"I’m really excited for us to continue collaborating with members of the Council, and others across the whole sector, to deliver on the commitments of the deal.”
Business Secretary Greg Clark said the UK had developed its reputation for creativity over generations, adding:
“The creative industries are essential to prosperity which is why our Creative Industries Sector Deal is supporting businesses to meet global demand for British content and strengthening intellectual property protections.
“The sector currently contributes £101.5 billion a year to our economy and through our modern Industrial Strategy we are investing more to enable the sector to keep on growing, boosting creative high skilled jobs in all corners of the United Kingdom.”
Baroness Fairhead, Trade & Export Promotion Minister, said the main principles of the Sector Deal were closely aligned with those of the UK Government's recently announced export strategy.
This export strategy is built around joining up Government and the private sector and adopting a business-led approach, with Government doing only what it can. Other principles of the strategy include being digital by design and ensuring value for money.
Baroness Fairhead said the Government's overall aim was to grow total exports as a percentage of UK GDP from 30 per cent to 35 per cent, adding: "The Sector Deal has set the ambition of increasing creative industry exports by 50 per cent by 2023 and boosting the number of creative businesses exporting. Integral to achieving this target will be Government and industry working seamlessly to achieve these ambitions."
Linda Griffin, VP of Public Policy at King, which has designed games franchises such as Candy Crush and Farm Heroes, said that if the UK wanted to be a hub for global creative businesses, it would also need to continue to have a global workforce.
Ms Griffin said access to talent was already a huge barrier for lots of businesses in the creative industries. She said:
"The Government has some crucial choices to make about the future immigration system after Brexit. We appreciate the sheer size of the bureaucratic challenge, but we cannot let that distract us from the fact that we need an immigration system based on principles that enable growth.
"Top of the wish list is a fast, simple system for businesses to continue hiring EU talent. Something that is better than the current Tier 2 system. And that does not become a financial barrier, especially to UK start-ups."
The reception, which was hosted by Chris Matheson MP, concluded with a performance by up and coming singer-songwriter, Jerry Williams, introduced by Michael Dugher, CEO of UK Music.
More event pictures here
Read more on the Creative Clusters programme
Find out about the initiatives covered by the Creative Industries Sector Deal