Government needs 'more ambition', say creatives

Government needs 'more ambition', say creatives

Greater commitment is needed from the government to support the continued growth of the creative industries in the UK, the Creative Industries Federation (CIF) has said following the release of the industrial strategy white paper.

The document for the strategy, designed to tackle weak productivity and anticipate issues arising out of Brexit for businesses, was published on Monday (27th November).

While the CIF said it was pleased that the white paper placed the creative industries' economic importance to the UK on a par with other sectors such as digital, technology and science, it remarked there was "lack of clear commitment" to support creative businesses and in "making sure the country has the skills to enable this increasingly important sector to compete on a global scale, now and in the longer term".

John Kampfner, chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation, said "more concrete" and "much more ambitious and far sighted" action was needed - particularly in light of Brexit - and especially rallied the government to address the drop in creative education that he termed "a severe skills shortage".

"The government has clearly been listening to calls, including from ourselves, to make the creative industries integral to the UK’s future growth and prosperity. But more concrete action is needed around education and skills development and to mitigate the impact of Brexit, which could result in the haemorrhaging of talent that is vital to the wider economy," he said.

"There are a number of positive measures, such as funding for place-based cultural development and growing audiences, but the strategy needs to be much more ambitious and far-sighted.

"We are calling on government to address the drop in creative education, which is as important as STEM, to address the severe skills shortage facing the sector and to better support the businesses already working up and down the country and contributing to a sector worth £87 billion. Overlooking the urgency of this risks becoming an Achilles Heel for government and the failure of its industrial strategy."

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) broadly welcomed the paper but said it looked to the government for commitment towards "a digital inclusion partnership" which would help improve digital literacy in the UK workforce. 

"Raising digital literacy goes hand in hand with maintaining and building on productivity gains in the industry, that continue to outpace the UK average, and supports the government’s aspiration of a digital economy that works for all," said a spokesperson for the BRC.