As the UK faces down a possible recession, the House of Lords Communications Committee is warning that the UK risks losing its position within the industry.
The UK’s creative industries were worth more than £115 billion to the UK economy before the pandemic, and make up as many as one in eight businesses across the country, said the Committee.
Their contribution to the economy in 2019 was more than the aerospace, life sciences and automotive industries combined.
However, in a report published today the Committee says that the UK risks losing its leading position in this fast-growing industry and states the government has a major opportunity to put the creative sector at the heart of its future growth agenda but is “failing to do so”.
The report calls on the government to unlock the sector’s potential by fixing policies “characterised by incoherence and barriers to success”. It says urgent action is needed to ensure the UK does not fall behind fast-moving international competitors, with ssues of concern including: allowing other countries to overtake the UK on providing more competitive tax incentives; blind spots in education and skills policy; proposals to relax intellectual property law which threaten creative sector business models; the ending of the Creative Industries Clusters Programme; and a failure to take seriously the creative industries illustrated by the perception across government that DCMS remains the “ministry of fun” rather than a key driver of economic growth.
Baroness Stowell, chair of the 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,” added Stowell.
“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.”
The UK government has two months to respond to the report.