'High anxiety' over 'no deal' Brexit, Creative Industries Federation reports

'High anxiety' over 'no deal' Brexit, Creative Industries Federation reports

The creative industries sector is anxious it is being "sidelined" as Brexit negotiations continue, according to a new report published by the Creative Industries Federation.

In the report, the Federation criticised the government for focusing on financial services and "traditional" trades like the automotive sector at the expense of the creative industries, even though the creative industries employs 700,000 more people than the financial services and is worth £8bn more than the automotive sector.

After surveying 131 creative businesses among its membership, it emerged that nearly 80% are not confident that Britain will maintain its leading global reputation post-Brexit. It also revealed in the event of a "no deal" outcome that 21% would consider moving part or all of their business abroad with 40% believing it would harm their business’ ability to export.

Quoted in connection with the report, Jonny Geller, joint c.e.o. of Curtis Brown and managing director of the books division at Curtis Brown, agreed a "no deal" scenario "could be a disaster" for the sector. In the event of changes to trading relations post-Brexit, he warned cheaper US imports could undermine the competitiveness of UK publishers.

"Brexit may present some direct challenges to the UK publishing business," said Geller. "Cheaper American imports may well threaten UK publishers’ exclusivity of exports of English language books to EU countries when we leave. We must protect our status as world leaders. Any post-Brexit change to trading relations or copyright laws could be detrimental and a 'no-deal' could be a disaster."

Sir Nicholas Kenyon, managing director at the Barbican, emphasised the importance of maintaining positive trading relations with the EU. Among his worries was the strain additional administration costs could put on arrangements for the future loan of art works.

"The Creative Industries are a vital part of the UK economy and should be a central consideration in any post-Brexit trade agreements," said Kenyon. "These industries not only contribute a huge amount to our national prosperity but also play a leading role in maintaining and enhancing the UK’s international reputation. The Barbican regularly exports its exhibitions and theatre productions internationally and, with so much of our trade involving other European nations, ensuring a continued positive trading relationship with the EU will be essential to our future success.

"It’s not just trade which is threatened. Spiralling administration costs might well threaten the loan of art works in the future such as the magnificent Bayeux Tapestry. Punitive trade arrangements might well see the end of such monumental loans."

Dr Gabriele Finaldi, director of the National Gallery, said likewise it was "crucial" that UK museums and gallerties continue to share collections and expertise both nationally and with other European museums to the benefit of the UK public.  

Recommendations in the report ask the UK government to: maintain Britain’s reputation as an open and welcoming cultural hub, ensure the creative industries are at the heart of negotiations and make sure the UK’s creative businesses can trade as they do now during the implementation period. Meanwhile it recommends that the creative industries must to continue to play an active role in evolving EU legislation.

John Kampfner, chief executive for the Creative Industries Federation, commented: "Our trade report shows just how crucial the creative industries are to the British economy and also highlights the very real anxiety within the sector about a 'no deal' Brexit outcome. We urge the government to look at our recommendations and ensure the creative industries are a top priority on its negotiating agenda."