If creative businesses and organisations are not made central to the government’s economic plans, the UK’s creative industries risk falling behind international competitors.
That’s the conclusion of a report by the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee.
Following an inquiry into the future of the UK’s creative sector amid increasing global competition and technology-related disruption, the committee said the government’s approach can be categorised as complacent, missing opportunities and failing to recognise the sector’s commercial potential.
All this, the report said, is despite the following statistics:
The UK is world leading in many specialisms within the creative industries, the committee said, but rapid technological advances are changing the nature of the sector, and international competition is rising.
“We heard mounting concern that the UK’s success was being taken for granted, and increasingly at risk,” the report warned.
Among the committee’s key concerns were the government allowing other countries to create more competitive tax incentives, proposals to relax intellectual property law which threaten creative sector business models and a “perception in government that DCMS [Department for Culture, Media and Sport] is the ‘ministry of fun’ rather than a key driver of economic growth”.
Julia Lopez MP, media and data minister within DCMS, referenced the “ministry of fun” description during the inquiry. She said:
“I want it to be understood as the ministry of a major economic growth area, future technologies … it is incredibly important that we do not try to diminish the public perception of what are fundamentally important industries and ones where the UK has a real competitive advantage.”
📢Out now: our report on the UK’s creative industries, covering
👉How technology is disrupting the sector
👉How the UK’s world-leading position is at risk
👉How Government policy can harness the sector’s potential to turn it into an engine of growth
— Lords Communications and Digital Committee (@LordsCommsCom) January 17, 2023
The committee made several recommendations including:
The recommendations mirror a report released last September by Bristol Creative Industries which also called for action on R&D tax relief and skills.
Baroness Stowell of Beeston, chair of the Communications and Digital Committee, said:
“The UK’s creative industries are an economic powerhouse and have been a huge success story. But the fundamentals that underpin our success are changing, and rivals are catching up. The government’s failure to grasp both the opportunities and risks is baffling.
“International competitors are championing their creative industries and seizing the opportunities of new technology. But in the UK we’re seeing muddled policies, barriers to success, and indifference to the sector’s potential. We acknowledge the government has introduced important programmes in recent years, but we are concerned past success has bred complacency.
“Our report sets out some immediate challenges that the government can address now.
“These include improving R&D tax policy to stop excluding innovation in the creative sector; abandoning plans to relax intellectual property rules which would undercut our creative businesses; making the Department for Education wake up to the reality that the future lies in blending creative and digital skills rather than perpetuating silos; and urging senior figures across government to take the creative sector’s economic potential more seriously.”
Bristol Creative Industries is the membership network that supports the region's creative sector to learn, grow and connect, driven by the common belief that we can achieve more collectively than alone.