By Matthew Fell, CBI
"We must build on existing progress - in music, film, gaming, TV, advertising or design - and ensure the foundations are laid for long-term success," is the message from Matthew Fell, Director for Competitive Markets at the CBI.
This year’s party conferences took place in centres of both historical and present importance to the British economy. Take Manchester and Salford — once at the heart of the industrial revolution as a global centre for textile manufacturing — now home to one of the UK’s leading creative hubs with MediaCityUK alone creating 20,000 jobs in Salford Quays.
It provided a fitting location for the CBI to talk about the vibrant strength of the UK’s creative economy in fringe events alongside secretaries of state and industry leaders.
In the CBI’s Playing our Strongest Hand report, we identified the creative industries as a critical area for policymakers to get behind in the industrial strategy initiative. This involved setting out how industry and government in partnership can boost the UK’s growth by focusing on those areas where we choose to compete.
Our message is clear: the UK has the potential to become the world’s leading creative hub by 2025, provided we take steps now to build on existing progress and ensure that all the underlying industries involved — whether music, film, gaming, TV, advertising or design — have the foundations in place for long-term success.
These steps will involve addressing several familiar challenges. For instance, while Creative Industries Tax Reliefs are proving a vital catalyst for inward investment for the sectors involved, how do we ensure that creative SMEs or MSBs have access to the growth capital they need to move beyond individual projects and develop as resilient businesses?
Similarly, to secure this business growth, how do we ensure that the UK develops managerial and entrepreneurial knowhow amongst the next generation of creative talent?
Aside from the challenges, policymakers also need to think strategically about how they can equip the UK’s creative industries with the tools they need to succeed in a modern and changing business environment.
The transition to digital continues to ask questions of traditional analogue business models, yet as the developing and world-beating strength of the UK’s online music market shows, there are vast commercial opportunities for our firms to seize here.
To realise these opportunities, we need to build on initiatives such as the Copyright Hub where a range of creative industries are undertaking work to streamline licensing arrangements for the 21st century.
Moreover, we need to do more to allow our creative industries to harness international demand for British content and services by establishing a strong export footprint.
We want to see policymakers build on announcements such as the Music Export Growth Scheme, with existing well-known brands, UKTI and sector trade associations working together to support our creative industries in going to market across the globe.
We welcome bilateral co-production treaties with nations such as Brazil and urge that work continues on concluding similar treaties with several “next 11” and high-growth countries.
In an economy that needs to rebalance towards investment and exports to secure sustainable growth, trade with emerging markets is a sure-fire way to boost returns for our creative firms.
In short, the industrial strategy initiative and the approach it brings — looking at those areas where the UK can compete and how government and industry can work together to facilitate future successes — provides an opportunity for the UK’s creative industries.
It provides an opportunity to think about how we can work on a policy agenda that can take existing progress and shape an ambitious plan for the long-term.
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