Govt encouraged to help creative sector grow

Thursday 27 November 2014

The government is being encouraged to give more support to the creative sector, which could help create more jobs.

Leading this plea is the innovation charity Nesta, which has tabled a handful of policy recommendations to help the creative sector. These could potentially be adopted by chancellor George Osborne and announced through the Autumn Statement, which is due on December 3rd.

This industry is a stronghold for limited company contractors and umbrella company contractors, so creative contractors would welcome news of a boost to this area. Nesta says that the policy proposals are designed to create one million new creative jobs between 2025 and 2035.

Nesta said in a blog post on the matter: "This is ambitious – it’s based on extrapolating the recent stellar performance of the creative economy compared with the workforce as a whole – but it is by no means unrealistic."

Three recommendations were put forward, the first being to "end the bias" against different disciplines of education. To do this, it was suggested that STEM would be turned into STEAM: science, technology, engineering, arts and maths.

The way to do this, Nesta says, is to include an arts subject in the English Baccalaureate, to make sure universities include the arts in their facilitating subjects and to make sure research councils help to boost the technological capabilities of arts schools.

Next, Nesta suggested giving £100 million to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) so that it could develop creative clusters across the UK. In turn, it said this should be supported by the installation and running of ultra-high-speed broadband.

The third policy recommendation put forward by Nesta is to make the funding that is given to the arts "go further". The example it gives of how this can be done is to direct at least one per cent of public arts funding towards research and development.

This recommendation also included the idea that large funders, including Arts Council England and Creative Scotland, inject up to £10 million a year collectively to innovative financing scheme pilots.

Following in the footsteps of the British Film Institute, it was also suggests that a National Lottery distributor be set up for video games due to the array of distinctive titles that have been developed across the country. An example of this is Grand Theft Auto V, created by the Scottish arm of Rockstar, which made £94 million during its opening week and earned the title of highest-grossing game in a week. Additionally, it was recently crowned as the biggest selling game ever in the UK.

At present, there are 2.6 million jobs in the UK's creative economy, of which 1.7 million are in the creative industries and 900,000 are found in the wider economy.

Nesta has asked that the government go further than just to include the creative industries as one of the 11+7 high growth sectors that BIS should prioritise. It said that expanding the UK's creative economy should become one of the primary goals of industrial policy.


By Victoria McDonnell

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